Effector CD8 T Cell-Dependent Zika Virus Control in the CNS: A Matter of Time and Numbers.
ABSTRACT: Zika virus (ZIKV), a mosquito-borne flavivirus, came into the spotlight in 2016 when it was found to be associated with an increased rate of microcephalic newborns in Brazil. The virus has further been recognized to cause neurologic complications in children and adults in the form of myelitis, encephalitis, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) and Guillain Barre Syndrome in a fraction of infected individuals. With the ultimate goal of identifying correlates of protection to guide the design of an effective vaccine, the study of the immune response to ZIKV infection has become the focus of research worldwide. Both innate and adaptive immune responses seem to be essential for controlling the infection. Induction of sufficient levels of neutralizing antibodies has been strongly correlated with protection against reinfection in various models, while the role of CD8 T cells as antiviral effectors in the CNS has been controversial. In an attempt to improve our understanding regarding the role of ZIKV-induced CD8 T cells in protective immunity inside the CNS, we have expanded on previous studies in intracranially infected mice. In a recent study, we have demonstrated that, peripheral ZIKV infection in adult C57BL/6 mice induces a robust CD8 T cell response that peaks within a week. In the present study, we used B cell deficient as well as wild-type mice to show that there is a race between CXCR3-dependent recruitment of the effector CD8 T cells and local ZIKV replication, and that CD8 T cells are capable of local viral control if they arrive in the brain early after viral invasion, in appropriate numbers and differentiation state. Our data highlight the benefits of considering this subset when designing vaccines against Zika virus.
Project description:The recent spread of Zika virus (ZIKV) and its association with increased rates of Guillain Barre and other neurological disorders as well as congenital defects that include microcephaly has created an urgent need to develop animal models to examine the pathogenesis of the disease and explore the efficacy of potential therapeutics and vaccines. Recently developed infection models for ZIKV utilize mice defective in interferon responses. In this study we establish and characterize a new model of peripheral ZIKV infection using immunocompetent neonatal C57BL/6 mice and compare its clinical progression, virus distribution, immune response, and neuropathology with that of C57BL/6-IFNAR KO mice. We show that while ZIKV infected IFNAR KO mice develop bilateral hind limb paralysis and die 5-6 days post-infection (dpi), immunocompetent B6 WT mice develop signs of neurological disease including unsteady gait, kinetic tremors, severe ataxia and seizures by 13 dpi that subside gradually over 2 weeks. Immunohistochemistry show viral antigen predominantly in cerebellum at the peak of the disease in both models. However, whereas IFNAR KO mice showed infiltration by neutrophils and macrophages and higher expression of IL-1, IL-6 and Cox2, B6 WT mice show a cellular infiltration in the CNS composed predominantly of T cells, particularly CD8+ T cells, and increased mRNA expression levels of IFNg, GzmB and Prf1 at peak of disease. Lastly, the CNS of B6 WT mice shows evidence of neurodegeneration predominantly in the cerebellum that are less prominent in mice lacking the IFN response possibly due to the difference in cellular infiltrates and rapid progression of the disease in that model. The development of the B6 WT model of ZIKV infection will provide insight into the immunopathology of the virus and facilitate assessments of possible therapeutics and vaccines.
Project description:Zika virus (ZIKV) infection causees neurologic complications, including Guillain-Barré syndrome in adults and central nervous system (CNS) abnormalities in fetuses. We investigated the immune response, especially the CD8+ T cell response in C57BL/6 (B6) wild-type (WT) mice, during ZIKV infection. We found that a robust CD8+ T cell response was elicited, major histocompatibility complex class I-restricted CD8+ T cell epitopes were identified, a tetramer that recognizes ZIKV-specific CD8+ T cells was developed, and virus-specific memory CD8+ T cells were generated in these mice. The CD8+ T cells from these infected mice were functional, as evidenced by the fact that the adoptive transfer of ZIKV-specific CD8+ T cells could prevent ZIKV infection in the CNS and was cross protective against dengue virus infection. Our findings provide comprehensive insight into immune responses against ZIKV and further demonstrate that WT mice could be a natural and easy-access model for evaluating immune responses to ZIKV infection.IMPORTANCE ZIKV infection has severe clinical consequences, including Guillain-Barré syndrome in adults, microcephaly, and congenital malformations in fetuses and newborn infants. Therefore, study of the immune response, especially the adaptive immune response to ZIKV infection, is important for understanding diseases caused by ZIKV infection. Here, we characterized the CD8+ T cell immune response to ZIKV in a comprehensive manner and identified ZIKV epitopes. Using the identified immunodominant epitopes, we developed a tetramer that recognizes ZIKV-specific CD8+ T cells in vivo, which simplified the detection and evaluation of ZIKV-specific immune responses. In addition, the finding that tetramer-positive memory CD8+ T cell responses were generated and that CD8+ T cells can traffic to a ZIKV-infected brain greatly enhances our understanding of ZIKV infection and provides important insights for ZIKV vaccine design.
Project description:Zika virus (ZIKV) infection in the human central nervous system (CNS) causes Guillain-Barre syndrome, cerebellum deformity, and other diseases. Astrocytes are immune response cells in the CNS and an important component of the blood-brain barrier. Consequently, any damage to astrocytes facilitates the spread of ZIKV in the CNS. Connective tissue growth factor/Nephroblastoma overexpressed gene family 1 (CCN1), an important inflammatory factor secreted by astrocytes, is reported to regulate innate immunity and viral infection. However, the mechanism by which astrocyte viral infection affects CCN1 expression remains undefined. In this study, we demonstrate that ZIKV infection up-regulates CCN1 expression in astrocytes, thus promoting intracellular viral replication. Other studies revealed that the cAMP response element (CRE) in the CCN1 promoter is activated by the ZIKV NS3 protein. The cAMP-responsive element-binding protein (CREB), a transacting factor of the CRE, is also activated by NS3 or ZIKV. Furthermore,a specific inhibitor of CREB, i.e. SGC-CBP30, reduced ZIKV-induced CCN1 up-regulation and ZIKV replication. Moreover, co-immunoprecipitation, overexpression, and knockdown studies confirmed that the interaction between NS3 and the regulatory domain of CaMKII? could activate the CREB pathway, thus resulting in the up-regulation of CCN1 expression and enhancement of virus replication. In conclusion, the findings of our investigations on the NS3-CaMKII?-CREB-CCN1 pathway provide a foundation for understanding the infection mechanism of ZIKV in the CNS.
Project description:Zika virus (ZIKV) has recently caused a pandemic disease, and many cases of ZIKV infection in pregnant women resulted in abortion, stillbirth, deaths and congenital defects including microcephaly, which now has been proposed as ZIKV congenital syndrome. This study aimed to investigate the in situ immune response profile and mechanisms of neuronal cell damage in fatal Zika microcephaly cases. Brain tissue samples were collected from 15 cases, including 10 microcephalic ZIKV-positive neonates with fatal outcome and five neonatal control flavivirus-negative neonates that died due to other causes, but with preserved central nervous system (CNS) architecture. In microcephaly cases, the histopathological features of the tissue samples were characterized in three CNS areas (meninges, perivascular space, and parenchyma). The changes found were mainly calcification, necrosis, neuronophagy, gliosis, microglial nodules, and inflammatory infiltration of mononuclear cells. The in situ immune response against ZIKV in the CNS of newborns is complex. Despite the predominant expression of Th2 cytokines, other cytokines such as Th1, Th17, Treg, Th9, and Th22 are involved to a lesser extent, but are still likely to participate in the immunopathogenic mechanisms of neural disease in fatal cases of microcephaly caused by ZIKV.
Project description:T cells clear virus from the CNS and dynamically regulate brain functions, including spatial learning, through cytokine signaling. Here we determined whether hippocampal T cells that persist after recovery from infection with West Nile virus (WNV) or Zika virus (ZIKV) impact hippocampal-dependent learning and memory. Using newly established models of viral encephalitis recovery in adult animals, we show that in mice that have recovered from WNV or ZIKV infection, T cell-derived interferon-? (IFN-?) signaling in microglia underlies spatial-learning defects via virus-target-specific mechanisms. Following recovery from WNV infection, mice showed presynaptic termini elimination with lack of repair, while for ZIKV, mice showed extensive neuronal apoptosis with loss of postsynaptic termini. Accordingly, animals deficient in CD8+ T cells or IFN-? signaling in microglia demonstrated protection against synapse elimination following WNV infection and decreased neuronal apoptosis with synapse recovery following ZIKV infection. Thus, T cell signaling to microglia drives post-infectious cognitive sequelae that are associated with emerging neurotropic flaviviruses.
Project description:Zika virus (ZIKV) is a major public health concern due to the risk of congenital Zika syndrome in developing fetuses and Guillain-Barre syndrome in adults. Currently, there are no approved vaccines available to protect against infection. Adenoviruses are safe and highly immunogenic vaccine vectors capable of inducing lasting humoral and cellular immune responses. Here, we developed two Adenovirus (Ad) vectored Zika virus vaccines by inserting a ZIKV prM-E gene expression cassette into human Ad types 4 (Ad4-prM-E) and 5 (Ad5-prM-E). Immune correlates indicate that Ad5-prM-E vaccination induces both an anti-ZIKV antibody and T-cell responses whereas Ad4-prM-E vaccination only induces a T-cell response. In a highly lethal challenge in an interferon α/β receptor knockout mice, 80% of Ad5 vaccinated animals and 33% of Ad4 vaccinated animals survived a lethal ZIKV challenge, whereas no animals in the sham vaccinated group survived. In an infection model utilizing immunocompetent C57BL/6 mice that were immunized and then treated with a blocking anti-IFNAR-1 antibody immediately before ZIKV challenge, 100% of Ad4-prM-E and Ad5-prM-E vaccinated mice survived. This indicates that Ad4-prM-E vaccination is protective without the development of detectable anti-ZIKV antibodies. The protection seen in these highly lethal mouse models demonstrate the efficacy of Ad vectored vaccines for use against ZIKV.
Project description:The causal link between Zika virus (ZIKV) infection and microcephaly has raised alarm worldwide. Microglial hyperplasia, reactive gliosis, and myelination delay have been reported in ZIKV-infected microcephalic fetuses. However, whether and how ZIKV infection affects glial cell development remain unclear. Here we show that ZIKV infection of embryos at the later stage of development causes severe microcephaly after birth. ZIKV infects the glial progenitors during brain development. Specifically, ZIKV infection disturbs the proliferation and differentiation of the oligodendrocyte progenitor cells and leads to the abolishment of oligodendrocyte development. More importantly, a single intraperitoneal injection of pregnant mice with a human monoclonal neutralizing antibody provides full protection against ZIKV infection and its associated damages in the developing fetuses. Our results not only provide more insights into the pathogenesis of ZIKV infection, but also present a new model for the preclinical test of prophylactic and therapeutic agents against ZIKV infection.
Project description:The recent association between Zika virus (ZIKV) and neurologic complications, including Guillain-Barré syndrome in adults and CNS abnormalities in fetuses, highlights the importance in understanding the immunological mechanisms controlling this emerging infection. Studies have indicated that ZIKV evades the human type I IFN response, suggesting a role for the adaptive immune response in resolving infection. However, the inability of ZIKV to antagonize the mouse IFN response renders the virus highly susceptible to circulating IFN in murine models. Thus, as we show in this article, although wild-type C57BL/6 mice mount cell-mediated and humoral adaptive immune responses to ZIKV, these responses were not required to prevent disease. However, when the type I IFN response of mice was suppressed, then the adaptive immune responses became critical. For example, when type I IFN signaling was blocked by Abs in Rag1-/- mice, the mice showed dramatic weight loss and ZIKV infection in the brain and testes. This phenotype was not observed in Ig-treated Rag1-/- mice or wild-type mice treated with anti-type I IFNR alone. Furthermore, we found that the CD8+ T cell responses of pregnant mice to ZIKV infection were diminished compared with nonpregnant mice. It is possible that diminished cell-mediated immunity during pregnancy could increase virus spread to the fetus. These results demonstrate an important role for the adaptive immune response in the control of ZIKV infection and imply that vaccination may prevent ZIKV-related disease, particularly when the type I IFN response is suppressed as it is in humans.
Project description:CD8+ T cells may play a dual role in protection against and pathogenesis of flaviviruses, including Zika virus (ZIKV). We evaluated the CD8+ T cell response in ZIKV-infected LysMCre+IFNARfl/fl C57BL/6 (H-2b) mice lacking the type I interferon receptor in a subset of myeloid cells. In total, 26 and 15 CD8+ T cell-reactive peptides for ZIKV African (MR766) and Asian (FSS13025) lineage strains, respectively, were identified and validated. CD8+ T cells from infected mice were polyfunctional and mediated cytotoxicity. Adoptive transfer of ZIKV-immune CD8+ T cells reduced viral burdens, whereas their depletion led to higher tissue burdens, and CD8-/- mice displayed higher mortality with ZIKV infection. Collectively, these results demonstrate that CD8+ T cells protect against ZIKV infection. Further, this study provides a T cell competent mouse model for investigating ZIKV-specific T cell responses.
Project description:Zika virus (ZIKV), a positive-sense RNA flavivirus, has attracted considerable attention recently for its potential to cause serious neurological problems, including microcephaly, cortical thinning, and blindness during early development. Recent findings suggest that ZIKV infection of the brain can occur not only during very early stages of development, but also in later fetal/early neonatal stages of maturation. Surprisingly, after peripheral inoculation of immunocompetent mice on the day of birth, the first cells targeted throughout the brain were isolated astrocytes. At later stages, more neurons showed ZIKV immunoreactivity, in part potentially due to ZIKV release from infected astrocytes. In all developing mice studied, we detected infection of retinal neurons; in many mice, this was also associated with infection of the lateral geniculate, suprachiasmatic nuclei, and superior colliculus, suggesting a commonality for the virus to infect cells of the visual system. Interestingly, in mature mice lacking a Type 1 interferon response (IFNR-/-), after inoculation of the eye, the initial majority of infected cells in the visual system were glial cells along the optic tract. ZIKV microinjection into the somatosensory cortex on one side of the normal mouse brain resulted in mirror infection restricted to the contralateral somatosensory cortex without any infection of midline brain regions, indicating the virus can move by axonal transport to synaptically coupled brain loci. These data support the view that ZIKV shows considerable complexity in targeting the CNS and may target different cells at different stages of brain development.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Zika virus (ZIKV) can cause substantial damage to the developing human brain. Here we examine a developmental mouse model of ZIKV infection in the newborn mouse in which the brain is developmentally similar to a second-trimester human fetus. After peripheral inoculation, the virus entered the CNS in all mice tested and initially targeted astrocytes throughout the brain. Infections of the retina were detected in all mice, and infection of CNS visual system nuclei in the brain was common. We find that ZIKV can be transported axonally, thereby enhancing virus spread within the brain. These data suggest that ZIKV infects multiple cell types within the brain and that astrocyte infection may play a more important role in initial infection than previously appreciated.