Results 1-25 of about 1,000
  1. Zika virus (ZIKV) contains multiple conserved RNA structures in the viral 3’ untranslated region (UTR), including the structure known as dumbbell-1 (DB-1). Previous research has shown that the DB-1 structure is important for flavivirus genome replication and cytopathic effect (CPE). However, the role of the DB structure and the mechanism by which it contributes to viral pathogenesis is not known. Using recently solved flavivirus DB RNA structural data, we designed two DB-1 mutant ZIKV infectious clones termed ZIKV-TL.PK, which disrupts DB-1 tertiary folding and ZIKV-p.2.5’, which alters DB-1 secondary structure formation. In cell culture, we found that viral genome replication of both mutant clones is not significantly affected compared to ZIKV-WT, but viral CPE is considerably decreased. We investigated sub-genomic flaviviral RNA (sfRNA) formation by both DB-1 mutants following A549 infection and found both mutant clones have decreased levels of all sfRNA species compared to ZIKV-WT during infection. To investigate the mechanism of decreased CPE in our DB-1 mutant clones, we assayed ZIKV DB mutant-infected A549 cells for cell viability and caspase activation. We found that cell viability is significantly increased in DB-1 mutant-infected cells compared to ZIKV-WT due to reduced caspase 3 activation. We also show that replication of the ZIKV-P.2.5’ mutant was significantly restricted by type I interferon treatment without altering interferon stimulated gene expression. Using a murine model of ZIKV infection, we show that both ZIKV-DB-1 mutants exhibit reduced morbidity and mortality compared to ZIKV-WT virus due to tissue specific attenuation in ZIKV-DB viral replication in the brain tissue. Overall, our data show that the flavivirus DB-1 RNA structure is important for maintaining sfRNA levels during infection which supports caspase-3 dependent, viral cytopathic effect, type 1 interferon resistance, and viral pathogenesis in a mouse model.
    Date: 2023-01-24
    Authors: Graham ME, Merrick C, Akiyama BM, Szucs M, Leach S, Kieft JS, Beckham JD.
    Ref: bioRxiv
  2. Innate immune signaling in the central nervous system (CNS) exhibits many remarkable specializations that vary across cell types and CNS regions. In the setting of neuroinvasive flavivirus infection, neurons employ the immunologic kinase receptor-interacting kinase 3 (RIPK3) to promote an antiviral transcriptional program, independently of the traditional function of this enzyme in promoting necroptotic cell death. However, while recent work has established roles for neuronal RIPK3 signaling in controlling mosquito-borne flavivirus infections, including West Nile virus and Zika virus, functions for RIPK3 signaling in the CNS during tick-borne flavivirus infection have not yet been explored. Here, we use a model of Langat virus (LGTV) encephalitis to show that RIPK3 signaling is specifically required in neurons of the cerebellum to control LGTV replication and restrict disease pathogenesis. This effect did not require the necroptotic executioner molecule mixed lineage kinase domain like protein (MLKL), a finding similar to previous observations in models of mosquito-borne flavivirus infection. However, control of LGTV infection required a unique, region-specific dependence on RIPK3 to promote expression of key antiviral interferon-stimulated genes (ISG) in the cerebellum. This RIPK3-mediated potentiation of ISG expression was associated with robust cell-intrinsic restriction of LGTV replication in cerebellar granule cell neurons. These findings further illuminate the complex roles of RIPK3 signaling in the coordination of neuroimmune responses to viral infection, as well as provide new insight into the mechanisms of region-specific innate immune signaling in the CNS. Importance Interactions between the nervous and immune systems are very carefully orchestrated in order to protect the brain and spinal cord from immune-mediated damage, while still maintaining protective defenses against infection. These specialized neuro-immune interactions have been shown to vary significantly across regions of the brain, with innate antiviral signaling being particularly strong in the cerebellum, although the reasons for this are poorly understood. Here, we show a specialized adaptation of programmed cell death signaling that uniquely protects the cerebellum from tick-borne flavivirus infection. These findings provide important new insight into the molecular mechanisms that promote the uniquely robust antiviral immunity of the cerebellum. They also provide new clues into the pathogenesis of tick-borne encephalitis, a zoonosis of significant global concern.
    Date: 2023-01-24
    Authors: Lindman M, Angel JP, Estevez I, Chang NP, Chou T, McCourt M, Atkins C, Daniels BP.
    Ref: bioRxiv
  3. ABSTRACT BACKGROUND Zika virus (ZIKV) is highly teratogenic, in contrast with dengue virus (DENV) or the yellow fever virus vaccine (YFV-17D). The mechanisms employed by ZIKV to cross the placenta need to be elucidated. METHODS Parallel infections with ZIKV, DENV and YFV-17D were compared in terms of efficiency, activation of mTOR pathways and cytokine secretion profile in human cytotrophoblastic HTR8 cells (CTB), and monocytic U937 cells, differentiated to M2 macrophages (M2-MØ). RESULTS In CTB, ZIKV replication was significantly more efficient than DENV or YFV-17D. In M2-MØ, ZIKV replication continued to be more efficient, although differences between strains were reduced. Significantly greater activation of Phospho-S6r and Phospho-AKT/Ser473 fractions in CTB infected with ZIKV than with DENV or YFV-17D, was observed. CTB treated with the mTOR inhibitors rapamycin or AZD8055, showed a 20-fold-reduction in ZIKV yield, versus 5 and 3.5-fold for DENV and YFV-17D, respectively. Finally, we detected that ZIKV infection, but not DENV or YFV-17D, efficiently inhibited the interferon response of CTB cells. CONCLUSIONS These results suggest that CTB cells are permissive and act favoring ZIKV entry into the placental stroma, over DENV and YFV-17D and that the mTOR complex is a switch that enhances the replication of ZIKV in CTB cells.
    Date: 2023-01-21
    Authors: Viettri M, Caraballo G, Sanchez ME, Espejel-Nuñez A, Betanzos A, Ortiz-Navarrete V, Estrada-Gutierrez G, Nava P, Ludert JE.
    Ref: bioRxiv
  4. ABSTRACT RNA viruses continue to remain a clear and present threat for potential pandemics due to their rapid evolution. To mitigate their impact, we urgently require antiviral agents that can inhibit multiple families of disease-causing viruses, such as arthropod-borne and respiratory pathogens. Potentiating host antiviral pathways can prevent or limit viral infections before escalating into a major outbreak. Therefore, it is critical to identify broad-spectrum antiviral agents. We have tested a small library of innate immune agonists targeting pathogen recognition receptors, including TLRs, STING, NOD, Dectin and cytosolic DNA or RNA sensors. We observed that TLR3, STING, TLR8 and Dectin-1 ligands inhibited arboviruses, Chikungunya virus (CHIKV), West Nile virus (WNV) and Zika virus, to varying degrees. Cyclic dinucleotide (CDN) STING agonists, such as cAIMP, diABZI, and 2’,3’-cGAMP, and Dectin-1 agonist scleroglucan, demonstrated the most potent, broad-spectrum antiviral function. Comparative transcriptome analysis revealed that CHIKV-infected cells had larger number of differentially expressed genes than of WNV and ZIKV. Furthermore, gene expression analysis showed that cAIMP treatment rescued cells from CHIKV-induced dysregulation of cell repair, immune, and metabolic pathways. In addition, cAIMP provided protection against CHIKV in a CHIKV-arthritis mouse model. Cardioprotective effects of synthetic STING ligands against CHIKV, WNV, SARS-CoV-2 and enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) infections were demonstrated using human cardiomyocytes. Interestingly, the direct-acting antiviral drug remdesivir, a nucleoside analogue, was not effective against CHIKV and WNV, but exhibited potent antiviral effects against SARS-CoV-2, RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), and EV-D68. Our study identifies broad-spectrum antivirals effective against multiple families of pandemic potential RNA viruses, which can be rapidly deployed to prevent or mitigate future pandemics.
    Date: 2023-01-20
    Authors: Garcia G, Irudayam JI, Jeyachandran AV, Dubey S, Chang C, Cario SC, Price N, Arumugam S, Marquez AL, Shah A, Fanaei A, Chakravarty N, Joshi S, Sinha S, French SW, Parcells M, Ramaiah A, Arumugaswami V.
    Ref: bioRxiv
  5. Background: To characterize neurodevelopmental abnormalities in children up to 36 months of age with congenital Zika virus exposure. Methods: From the U.S. Zika Pregnancy and Infant Registry, a national surveillance system to monitor pregnancies with laboratory evidence of Zika virus infection, pregnancy outcomes and presence of Zika associated birth defects (ZBD) were reported among infants with available information. Neurologic sequelae and developmental delay were reported among children with ≥ 1 follow-up exam after 14 days of age or with ≥ 1 visit with development reported, respectively. Results: Among 2,248 infants, 9.9% were born preterm, and 10.0% were small-for-gestational age. Overall, 122 (5.4%) had any ZBD; 91.8% of infants had brain abnormalities or microcephaly, 23.0% had eye abnormalities, and 14.8% had both. Of 1,881 children ≥ 1 follow-up exam reported, neurologic sequelae were more common among children with ZBD (44.6%) vs. without ZBD (1.5%). Of children with ≥ 1 visit with development reported, 46.8% (51/109) of children with ZBD and 7.4% (129/1739) of children without ZBD had confirmed or possible developmental delay. Conclusion: Understanding the prevalence of developmental delays and healthcare needs these children with congenital Zika virus exposure can inform health systems and planning to ensure services are available for affected families.
    Date: 2023-01-16
    Authors: Neelam V, Woodworth KR, Chang DJ, Roth NM, Reynolds MR, Akosa A, Carr CP, Anderson KN, Mulkey SB, DeBiasi RL, Biddle C, Lee EH, Elmore AL, Scotland SJ, Sowunmi S, Longcore ND, Ahmed M, Langlois PH, Khuwaja S, Browne SE, Lind L, Shim K, Gosciminski M, Blumenfeld R, Khuntia S, Halai U, Locklear A, Chan M, Willabus T, Tonzel J, Marzec NS, Barreto NA, Sanchez C, Fornoff J, Hale S, Nance A, Adibhatla SN, Potts E, Schiffman E, Raman D, McDonald MF, Stricklin B, Ludwig E, Denson L, Contreras D, Romitti PA, Ferrell E, Marx M, Signs K, Cook A, Beauregard S, Orantes LC, Cronquist L, Roush L, Godfred-Cato S, Gilboa SM, Meaney-Delman D, Honein MA, Moore CA, Tong VT.
    Ref: Research Square
  6. ABSTRACT Vaccines and drugs are two effective medical interventions to mitigate SARS-CoV-2 infection. Three SARS-CoV-2 inhibitors, remdesivir, paxlovid, and molnupiravir, have been approved for treating COVID-19 patients, but more are needed, because each drug has its limitation of usage and SARS-CoV-2 constantly develops drug resistance mutations. In addition, SARS-CoV-2 drugs have the potential to be repurposed to inhibit new human coronaviruses, thus help to prepare for future coronavirus outbreaks. We have screened a library of microbial metabolites to discover new SARS-CoV-2 inhibitors. To facilitate this screening effort, we generated a recombinant SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant carrying the nano luciferase as a reporter for measuring viral infection. Six compounds were found to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 at the half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) below 1 μM, including the anthracycline drug aclarubicin that markedly reduced viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp)-mediated gene expression, whereas other anthracyclines inhibited SARS-CoV-2 by activating the expression of interferon and antiviral genes. As the most commonly prescribed anti-cancer drugs, anthracyclines hold the promise of becoming new SARS-CoV-2 inhibitors. IMPORTANCE Microbial metabolites are a rich source of bioactive molecules. The best examples are antibiotics and immunosuppressants that have transformed the practice of modern medicine and saved millions of lives. Recently, some microbial metabolites were reported to have antiviral activity, including the inhibition of Zika virus and Ebola virus. In this study, we discovered several microbial metabolites that effectively inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection, including anthracyclines that have also been shown to inhibit other viruses including Ebola virus through enhancing interferon responses, which indicates potentially broad antiviral properties of these microbial metabolites and can lead to the discovery of pan-antiviral molecules.
    Date: 2023-01-13
    Authors: Wang Z, Pan Q, Ma L, Zhao J, McIntosh F, Liu Z, Ding S, Lin R, Chen S, Finzi A, Liang C.
    Ref: bioRxiv
  7. During the 2015/16 Zika virus (ZIKV) epidemic, ZIKV associated neurological diseases were reported in adults, including microcephaly, Guillain-Barre syndrome, myelitis, meningoencephalitis, and fatal encephalitis. However, the mechanisms underlying the neuropathogenesis of ZIKV infection are not yet fully understood. In this study, we used an adult ZIKV-infection mouse model ( Ifnar1 −/− ) to investigate the mechanisms underlying neuroinflammation and neuropathogenesis. ZIKV infection induced the expression of proinflammatory cytokines, including IL-1β, IL-6, IFN-γ, and TNF-α, in the brains of Ifnar1 −/− mice. RNA-seq analysis of the infected mouse brain also revealed that genes involved in innate immune responses and cytokine-mediated signaling pathways were significantly upregulated at 6 days post infection. Furthermore, ZIKV infection induced macrophage infiltration and activation, and augmented IL-1β expression, whereas microgliosis was not observed in the brain. Using human monocyte THP-1 cells, we confirmed that ZIKV infection promotes inflammatory cell death and increases IL-1β secretion. In addition, the expression of complement component C3, which is associated with neurodegenerative diseases and known to be upregulated by proinflammatory cytokines, was induced by ZIKV infection through the IL-1β-mediated pathway. An increase in C5a produced by complement activation in the brains of ZIKV-infected mice was also confirmed. Taken together, our results suggest that ZIKV infection of the brain in this animal model augments IL-1β expression in infiltrating macrophages and elicits IL-1β-mediated inflammation, which can lead to the destructive consequences of neuroinflammation. Importance Zika virus (ZIKV) associated neurological impairments are an important global health problem. Our results suggest that ZIKV infection of the mouse brain can induce IL-1β-mediated inflammation and complement activation, contributing to the development of neurological disorders. Thus, our findings reveal a mechanism by which ZIKV induces neuroinflammation in the mouse brain. Although we used adult type I IFN receptor IFNAR knockout ( Ifnar1 −/− ) mice owing to the limited mouse model of ZIKV pathogenesis, our conclusion could contribute to understanding ZIKV associated neurological diseases to develop treatment strategies based on these findings for the patients with ZIKV infection.
    Date: 2023-01-06
    Authors: Jeong GU, Lee S, Kim DY, Lyu J, Yun GY, Ko J, Kwon Y.
    Ref: bioRxiv
  8. Disclaimer The authors have withdrawn their manuscript because their institution requires the obtention of additional clearances. Therefore, the authors do not wish this work to be cited as reference for the project. If you have any questions, please contact the corresponding author.
    Date: 2022-12-30
    Authors: Alusta P, Parades A, Azevedo M, Mullis L, Buzatu D.
    Ref: medRxiv
  9. Extracellular vesicles (EVs), produced during viral infections, are of emerging interest in understanding infectious processes and host-pathogen interactions. EVs and exosomes in particular have the natural ability to transport nucleic acids, proteins, and other components of cellular or viral origin. Thus, they participate in intercellular communication, immune responses, infectious and pathophysiological processes. Some viruses are known to hijack the cell production and content of EVs for their benefit. Here, we investigated whether two pathogenic flaviviruses i.e. Zika Virus (ZIKV) and Dengue virus (DENV2) could have an impact on the features of EVs. Analysis of EVs produced by infected cells allowed us to identify that the non-structural protein 1 (NS1), described as a viral toxin, was associated with exosomes. This observation could be confirmed under conditions of overexpression of recombinant NS1 from each flavivirus. Using different isolation methods (i.e. exosome isolation kit, size exclusion chromatography, Polyethylene Glycol enrichment, and ELISA capture), we showed that NS1 was present as a dimer at the surface of excreted exosomes and that this association could occur in the extracellular compartment. This finding could be of major importance in a physiological context. Indeed, this capacity of NS1 to address EVs and its implication in the pathophysiology during Dengue or Zika diseases should be explored. Furthermore, exosomes that have demonstrated a natural capacity to vectorize NS1 could serve as useful tools for vaccine development.
    Date: 2022-12-26
    Authors: EL SAFADI D, LEBEAU G, LAGRAVE A, Mélade J, GRONDIN L, ROSANALY S, Begue F, Hoareau M, Veeren B, ROCHE M, Hoarau J, Meilhac O, Mavingui P, DESPRES P, VIRANAICKEN W, KREJBICH-TROTOT P.
    Ref: Preprints.org
  10. Millions of people are infected by the Dengue and Zika viruses each year, which can result in serious illness, permanent disability or death. There are currently no FDA-approved antivirals for treating infection by these viruses. Galidesivir is an adenosine nucleoside analog which can attenuate flavivirus replication in cell-based and animal models of infection. Galidesivir is converted to the triphosphorylated form by host kinases, and subsequently incorporated into viral RNA by viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerases, leading to the termination of RNA synthesis via an unknown mechanism. Here we report the direct in vitro testing of the effects of Galidesivir triphosphate on RNA synthesis by the polymerases of Dengue-2 and Zika virus. Galidesivir triphosphate was chemically synthesized and inhibition of RNA synthesis followed using a continuous fluorescence-based assay. Galidesivir triphosphate was equipotent against the polymerase activity of Dengue-2 and Zika, with IC 50 values of 42 ± 12 μM and 47 ± 5 μM, respectively. This modest potency in vitro is consistent with results previously obtained in cell-based antiviral assays and suggests that the binding affinity for Galidesivir triphosphate is similar to the natural ATP substrate that it closely mimics. The inhibition assay we have developed will allow the rapid screening of Galidesivir and related compounds against other flavivirus polymerases, and the availability of Galidesivir triphosphate will allow detailed analysis of its mechanism of action. Highlights Galidesivir triphosphate was chemically synthesized. A continuous assay detecting double-stranded RNA formation was optimized for polymerase inhibition studies. Galidesivir triphosphate has moderate potency against DENV2 and ZIKA polymerase activity. The availability of Galidesivir triphosphate will facilitate study of its mechanism of action.
    Date: 2022-12-22
    Authors: Deshpande S, Huo W, Shrestha R, Sparrow K, Evans GB, Harris LD, Kingston RL, Bulloch EMM.
    Ref: bioRxiv
  11. Zika virus (ZIKV) is transmitted to humans by the infectious bite of mosquitoes like Aedes aegypti. After a viremic blood meal, the virus must infect the midgut, disseminate to tissues, and reach the salivary gland to be transmitted to a vertebrate host. Many factors influence the mosquito’s ability to become infected and transmit viruses, such as the mosquito’s genetic diversity, intrinsic antiviral barriers, and midgut microbiota. This study evaluated the patterns of ZIKV infection in Ae. aegypti field populations of a city. The infection rate, disseminated infection rate, viral transmission rate, and transmission efficiency were measured by quantitative PCR at 14 days post-infection. The results showed that all Ae. aegypti populations had individuals susceptible to ZIKV infection and able to transmit the virus. The infection parameters showed the city’s geographical area of origin of the Ae. aegypti influences their vector competence for ZIKV transmission.
    Date: 2022-12-21
    Authors: Paz AdC, Chaves BA, Godoy RSM, Coelho DF, Vieira Júnior AB, Alencar RM, Alcântara JA, Felix LdS, Oliveira CCA, Monteiro WM, Lacerda MVG, Secundino NFC, Pimenta PFP.
    Ref: Preprints.org
  12. Flaviviruses like dengue virus (DENV) and Zika virus (ZIKV) are mosquito-borne viruses that cause febrile, hemorrhagic, and neurological diseases in humans, resulting in 400 million infections annually. Due to their co-circulation in many parts of the world, flaviviruses must replicate in the presence of pre-existing adaptive immune responses targeted at serologically closely related pathogens, which can provide protection or enhance disease. However, the impact of pre-existing cross-reactive immunity as a driver of flavivirus evolution, and subsequently the implications on the emergence of immune escape variants, is poorly understood. Therefore, we investigated how replication in the presence of convalescent dengue serum drives ZIKV evolution. We used an in vitro directed evolution system, passaging ZIKV in the presence of serum from humans previously infected with DENV (anti-DENV) or serum from DENV-naïve patients (control serum). Following five passages in the presence of serum, we performed next-generation sequencing to identify mutations that arose during passaging. We studied two non-synonymous mutations found in the anti-DENV passaged population (E-V355I and NS1-T139A) by generating individual ZIKV mutants and assessing fitness in mammalian cells and live mosquitoes, as well as their sensitivity to antibody neutralization. Both viruses had increased fitness in Vero cells with and without the addition of anti-DENV serum and in human lung epithelial and monocyte cells. In Aedes aegypti mosquitoes—using blood meals with and without anti-DENV serum—the mutant viruses had significantly reduced fitness compared to wild-type ZIKV. These results align with the trade-off hypothesis of constrained mosquito-borne virus evolution. Notably, only the NS1-T139A mutation escaped neutralization, while E-V335I demonstrated enhanced neutralization sensitivity to neutralization by anti-DENV serum, indicating that neutralization escape is not necessary for viruses passaged under cross-reactive immune pressures. Future studies are needed to assess cross-reactive immune selection in humans and relevant animal models or with different flaviviruses.
    Date: 2022-12-21
    Authors: Marano JM, Weger-Lucarelli J.
    Ref: bioRxiv
  13. Malaria is a global public health priority causing over 600,000 deaths annually, mostly young children living in Sub-Saharan Africa. Molecular surveillance can provide key information for malaria control, such as the prevalence and distribution of antimalarial drug resistance. However, genome sequencing capacity in endemic countries can be limited. Here, we have implemented an end-to-end workflow for P. falciparum genomic surveillance in Ghana using Oxford Nanopore Technologies, targeting antimalarial resistance markers and the leading vaccine antigen circumsporozoite protein ( csp ). The workflow was rapid, robust, accurate, affordable and straightforward to implement. We found that P. falciparum parasites in Ghana had become largely susceptible to chloroquine, with persistent sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) resistance, and no evidence of artemisinin resistance. Multiple Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) differences from the vaccine csp sequence were identified, though their significance is uncertain. This study demonstrates the potential utility and feasibility of malaria genomic surveillance in endemic settings using Nanopore sequencing.
    Date: 2022-12-20
    Authors: Girgis ST, Adika E, Nenyewodey FE, Senoo Jnr DK, Ngoi JM, Bandoh K, Lorenz O, van de Steeg G, Nsoh S, Judge K, Pearson RD, Almagro-Garcia J, Saiid S, Atampah S, Amoako EK, Morang’a CM, Asoala V, Adjei ES, Burden W, Roberts-Sengier W, Drury E, Gonçalves S, Awandare GA, Kwiatkowski DP, Amenga-Etego LN, Hamilton WL.
    Ref: bioRxiv
  14. Spondweni virus (SPONV) is the closest known relative of Zika virus (ZIKV). SPONV pathogenesis resembles that of ZIKV in pregnant mice, and both viruses are transmitted by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. We aimed to develop a translational model to further understand SPONV transmission and pathogenesis. We found that cynomolgus macaques ( Macaca fascicularis ) inoculated with ZIKV or SPONV were susceptible to ZIKV, but resistant to SPONV infection. In contrast, rhesus macaques ( Macaca mulatta ) supported productive infection with both ZIKV and SPONV and developed robust neutralizing antibody responses. Crossover serial challenge in rhesus macaques revealed that SPONV immunity did not protect against ZIKV infection, whereas ZIKV immunity was fully protective against SPONV infection. These findings establish a viable model for future investigation into SPONV pathogenesis, and suggest the risk of SPONV emergence is low in areas with high ZIKV seroprevalence due to one-way cross-protection between ZIKV and SPONV. Teaser Identification of asymmetric immune interactions between Zika and Spondweni viruses in macaque monkeys.
    Date: 2022-12-17
    Authors: Jaeger AS, Crooks CM, Weiler AM, Bliss MI, Rybarczyk S, Richardson A, Einwalter M, Peterson E, Capuano S, Barkhymer A, Becker JT, Greene JT, Freedman TS, Langlois RA, Friedrich TC, Aliota MT.
    Ref: bioRxiv
  15. Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-borne virus that has been associated with adult and neonatal neurological conditions. So far, there is no approved drug or vaccine against ZIKV infection; thus, ZIKV remains a global health threat. Here, we explored the effects of chelerythrine (CTC), a known protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitor, against ZIKV infection in cell culture models to determine its potential as a therapeutic agent for ZIKV infection. We found that CTC protected Vero cells from ZIKV-induced cytopathic effects in a dose-dependent manner. It also reduced the production of ZIKV in Vero and A549 cells. In contrast, other PKC inhibitors failed to protect Vero cells from ZIKV-induced cytopathic effects, indicating PKC-independent mechanisms underlying the effects of CTC on ZIKV. Further investigation suggested that CTC inhibited ZIKV attachment/binding rather than internalization in the host cells. Pretreatment of cell-free ZIKV particles rather than pretreatment of cells with CTC resulted in reduced ZIKV infectivity in vitro , indicating that CTC blocked the attachment/binding of the ZIKV particles to host factors. In silico analyses suggested that these effects are potentially due to the binding of CTC to the ZIKV E protein, which may occlude the interaction of the E protein with attachment factors or receptors on the host cell surface. Overall, our findings suggest that CTC reduces the infectivity of ZIKV particles through PKC- and cell-independent mechanisms. Our findings also support further exploration of CTC as an anti-ZIKV agent.
    Date: 2022-12-16
    Authors: Españo E, Kim J, Lee C, Webster RG, Webby RJ, Kim J.
    Ref: bioRxiv
  16. Background There remains significant uncertainty in the definition of the long COVID disease, its expected clinical course, and its impact on daily functioning. Social media platforms can generate valuable insights into patient-reported health outcomes as the content is produced at high resolution by patients and caregivers, representing experiences that may be unavailable to most clinicians. Objective We aim to determine the validity and effectiveness of advanced NLP approaches built to derive insight into Long COVID-related patient-reported health outcomes from social media platforms. Methodology We use Transformer-based BERT models to extract and normalize long COVID Symptoms and Conditions (SyCo) from English posts on Twitter and Reddit. Furthermore, we estimate the occurrence and co-occurrence of SyCo terms at any point or across time and locations. Finally, we compare the extracted health outcomes with human annotations and highly utilized clinical outcomes grounded in the medical literature. Result Based on our findings, the top three most commonly occurring groups of long COVID symptoms are systemic (such as “fatigue”), neuropsychiatric (such as “anxiety” and “brain fog”), and respiratory (such as “shortness of breath”). Regarding the co-occurring symptoms, the pair of ‘fatigue & headaches’ is most common. In addition, we show that other conditions, such as infection, hair loss, and weight loss, as well as mentions of other diseases, such as flu, cancer, or Lyme disease, are among the top reported terms by social media users. Conclusion The outcome of our social media-derived pipeline is comparable with the outcomes of peer-reviewed articles relevant to long COVID symptoms. Overall, this study provides unique insights into patient-reported health outcomes from long COVID and valuable information about the patient’s journey that can help healthcare providers anticipate future needs.
    Date: 2022-12-16
    Authors: Dolatabadi E, Moyano D, Bales M, Spasojevic S, Bhambhoria R, Bhatti J, Debnath S, Hoell N, Li X, Leng C, Nanda S, Saab J, Sahak E, Sie F, Uppal S, Vadlamudi NK, Vladimirova A, Yakimovich A, Yang X, Kocak SA, Cheung AM.
    Ref: medRxiv
  17. Zika virus (ZIKV) is a flavivirus, and ZIKV infections in the past 15 years have been linked to Guillain-Barre syndrome and severe complications during pregnancy associated with congenital Zika syndrome. There are no approved therapies or vaccines for ZIKV. In recent years, advances in structure-based drug design methodologies have accelerated drug development pipelines for identifying promising inhibitory compounds against viral diseases. Among ZIKV proteins, NS2B-NS3 protease is an attractive target for antiviral drug development due to its vital role in the proteolytic processing of the single polyprotein. To find potential inhibitors against ZIKV, we used molecular docking at the NS2B-NS3 protease active site as a virtual screening approach with small molecules diverse scaffold-based library with rigorous druglikeness filters. The top-hit compounds with stable molecular dynamics trajectories were then subjected to in-vitro efficacy testing against ZIKV. In docking and molecular dynamics simulation studies, compound F1289-0194 showed stable binding to the NS2B-NS3 protease active site. Furthermore, viral load assays, immunofluorescence, and plaque reduction assays demonstrated that compound F1289-0194 significantly reduced ZIKV load and replication in Vero cells while maintaining cellular integrity. Thus, the compound F1289-0194 merits further investigation as a novel inhibitor against ZIKV replication.
    Date: 2022-12-15
    Authors: Kumar A, Kumar D, Kumar P, Jones BL, Mysorekar IU, Giri R.
    Ref: bioRxiv
  18. NS2B protein of the Zika virus acts as a co-factor for NS3 protease where only the cytosolic domain of NS2B is sufficient for the protease activity. At the same time, NS2B also involves in remodeling the NS3 protease structure. In isolation, we previously proved the NS2B cytosolic domain (residues 49-95) as a disordered type peptide conformation. Further, this study investigated the overall dynamics of NS2B full-length protein. Our Alphafold2 structure modeling system revealed surprising similarities between selected flavivirus NS2B proteins. This similarity reflects that the NS2B protein across flavivirus is conserved fold-wise. The MD simulation of Zika virus NS2B full-length protein shows that the cytosolic domain as a part of full-length protein is a disorder region supporting our previous experimental finding, which suggests the disordered nature of the cytosolic domain in isolation. Since the cytosolic domain of NS2B is essential for protease activity, we have also investigated the folding and dynamics of the NS2B cytosolic domain (residues 49-95) that shows the disorder to alpha helix transition in TFE. On the other hand, in the presence of SDS, macromolecular crowder like ficoll and PEG do not induce secondary structural change. This dynamics study could have implications for some unknown folds of the NS2B protein.
    Date: 2022-12-14
    Authors: Kumar A, Kumar P, Mishra PM, Giri R.
    Ref: bioRxiv
  19. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection causes significant morbidity and mortality worldwide, seriously impacting not only human health but also the global economy. Furthermore, over 1 million cases of newly emerging or re-emerging viral infections, specifically dengue virus (DENV), are known to occur annually. Because no virus-specific and fully effective treatments against these and many other viruses have been approved, they continue to be responsible for large-scale epidemics and global pandemics. Thus, there is an urgent need for novel, effective therapeutic agents. Here, we identified 2-thiouridine (s2U) as a broad-spectrum antiviral nucleoside analogue that exhibited antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 and its variants of concern, including the Delta and Omicron variants, as well as a number of other positive-sense single-stranded RNA (ssRNA+) viruses, including DENV. s2U inhibits RNA synthesis catalyzed by viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, thereby reducing viral RNA replication, which improved the survival rate of mice infected with SARS-CoV-2 or DENV in our animal models. Our findings demonstrate that s2U is a potential broad-spectrum antiviral agent not only against SARS-CoV-2 and DENV but other ssRNA+ viruses.
    Date: 2022-12-14
    Authors: Uemura K, Nobori H, Sato A, Toba S, Kusakabe S, Sasaki M, Tabata K, Matsuno K, Maeda N, Ito S, Tanaka M, Anraku Y, Kita S, Ishii M, Kanamitsu K, Orba Y, Matsuura Y, Hall WW, Sawa H, Kida H, Matsuda A, Maenaka K.
    Ref: bioRxiv
  20. Background The time-varying reproduction number (R t ) is an important measure of epidemic transmissibility; it can directly inform policy decisions and the optimisation of control measures. EpiEstim is a widely used software tool that uses case incidence and the serial interval (SI, time between symptoms in a case and their infector) to estimate R t in real-time. The incidence and the SI distribution must be provided at the same temporal resolution, which limits the applicability of EpiEstim and other similar methods, e.g. for pathogens with a mean SI shorter than the frequency of incidence reporting. Methods We use an expectation-maximisation algorithm to reconstruct daily incidence from temporally aggregated data, from which R t can then be estimated using EpiEstim. We assess the validity of our method using an extensive simulation study and apply it to COVID-19 and influenza data. The method is implemented in the opensource R package EpiEstim. Findings For all datasets, the influence of intra-weekly variability in reported data was mitigated by using aggregated weekly data. R t estimated on weekly sliding windows using incidence reconstructed from weekly data was strongly correlated with estimates from the original daily data. The simulation study revealed that R t was well estimated in all scenarios and regardless of the temporal aggregation of the data. In the presence of weekend effects, R t estimates from reconstructed data were more successful at recovering the true value of R t than those obtained from reported daily data. Interpretation R t can be successfully recovered from aggregated data, and estimation accuracy can even be improved by smoothing out administrative noise in the reported data. Funding MRC doctoral training partnership, MRC centre for global infectious disease analysis, the NIHR HPRU in Modelling and Health Economics, and the Academy of Medical Sciences Springboard, funded by the AMS, Wellcome Trust, BEIS, the British Heart Foundation and Diabetes UK.
    Date: 2022-12-13
    Authors: Nash RK, Cori A, Nouvellet P.
    Ref: medRxiv
  21. Bats are natural reservoirs for several zoonotic viruses, potentially due to an enhanced capacity to control viral infection. However, the mechanisms of antiviral responses in bats are poorly defined. Here we established a Jamaican fruit bat (JFB) intestinal organoid model of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection. JFB organoids were susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection, with increased viral RNA and subgenomic RNA detected in cell lysates and supernatants. Gene expression of type I interferons and inflammatory cytokines was induced in response to SARS-CoV-2 but not in response to TLR agonists. Interestingly, SARS-CoV-2 did not lead to cytopathic effects in JFB organoids but caused enhanced organoid growth. Proteomic analyses revealed an increase in inflammatory signaling, cell turnover, cell repair, and SARS-CoV-2 infection pathways. Collectively, our findings suggest that primary JFB intestinal epithelial cells can mount a successful antiviral interferon response and that SARS-CoV-2 infection in JFB cells induces protective regenerative pathways.
    Date: 2022-12-12
    Authors: Hashimi M, Sebrell T, Hedges J, Snyder D, Lyon K, Byrum S, Mackintosh SG, Cherne M, Skwarchuk D, Crowley D, Robison A, Sidar B, Kunze A, Loveday E, Taylor M, Chang C, Wilking J, Walk S, Schountz T, Jutila M, Bimczok D.
    Ref: Research Square
  22. Host-based antivirals could offer broad-spectrum therapeutics and prophylactics against the constantly-mutating viruses including the currently-ravaging coronavirus, yet must target cellular vulnerabilities of viruses without grossly endangering the host. Here we show that the master lipid regulator SREBP1 couples the phospholipid scramblase TMEM41B to constitute a host “metabolism-to-manufacture” cascade that maximizes membrane supplies to support coronaviral genome replication, harboring biosynthetic enzymes including Lipin1 as druggable viral-specific-essential (VSE) host genes. Moreover, pharmacological inhibition of Lipin1, by a moonlight function of the widely-prescribed beta-blocker Propranolol, metabolically uncouples the SREBP1-TMEM41B cascade and consequently exhibits broad-spectrum antiviral effects against coronaviruses, Zika virus, and Dengue virus. The data implicate a metabolism-based antiviral strategy that is well tolerated by the host, and a potential broad-spectrum medication against current and future coronavirus diseases.
    Date: 2022-12-10
    Authors: Fang H, Wang Y, Liu L, Cheng K, Li P, Tan Y, Hao X, Mei M, Xu X, Yao Y, Zan F, Wu L, Zhu Y, Xu B, Huang D, Wang C, Tan X, Qian Z, Chen X.
    Ref: bioRxiv
  23. SARM1 is a central regulator of programmed axon death and is required to initiate axon self-destruction after traumatic and toxic insults to the nervous system. Abnormal activation of this axon degeneration pathway is increasingly recognized as a contributor to human neurological disease and SARM1 knockdown or inhibition has become an attractive therapeutic strategy to preserve axon loss in a variety of disorders of the peripheral and central nervous system. Despite this, it remains unknown whether Sarm1 /SARM1 is present in myelinating glia and whether it plays a role in myelination in the PNS or CNS. It is important to answer these questions to understand whether future therapies inhibiting SARM1 function may have unintended deleterious impacts on myelination. Here we show that Sarm1 mRNA is present in oligodendrocytes in zebrafish but only detectable at low levels in Schwann cells in both zebrafish and mice. We find SARM1 protein is readily detectable in murine oligodendrocytes in vitro and in vivo and activation of endogenous SARM1 in oligodendrocytes induces cell death. In contrast, SARM1 protein is not detectable in Schwann cells and satellite glia in the adult murine nervous system. Cultured Schwann cells contain negligible functional SARM1 and are insensitive to specific SARM1 activators. Using zebrafish and mouse Sarm1 mutants, we show that SARM1 is not required for initiation of myelination nor myelin sheath maintenance by oligodendrocytes and Schwann cells. Thus, strategies to inhibit SARM1 function in the nervous system to treat neurological disease are unlikely to perturb myelination in humans. Main Points SARM1 protein is detectable in oligodendrocytes but not in Schwann cells Oligodendrocytes but not Schwann cells die in response to endogenous SARM1 activation CNS nor PNS myelination, in zebrafish and mice, is hindered by loss of sarm1/Sarm1
    Date: 2022-12-09
    Authors: Fazal SV, Mutschler C, Chen CZ, Turmaine M, Chen C, Hsueh Y, Loreto A, Casillas-Bajo A, Cabedo H, Franklin RJ, Barker RA, Monk KR, Steventon BJ, Coleman MP, Gomez-Sanchez JA, Arthur-Farraj P.
    Ref: bioRxiv
  24. In the 2016 Zika virus (ZIKV) pandemic, a previously unrecognized risk of birth defects surfaced in babies whose mothers were infected with Asian-lineage ZIKV during pregnancy. Less is known about the impacts of gestational African-lineage ZIKV infections. Given high human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) burdens in regions where African-lineage ZIKV circulates, we evaluated whether pregnant rhesus macaques infected with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) have a higher risk of African-lineage ZIKV-associated birth defects. Remarkably, in both SIV+ and SIV-animals, ZIKV infection early in the first trimester caused a high incidence (78%) of spontaneous pregnancy loss within 20 days. These findings suggest a significant risk for early pregnancy loss associated with African-lineage ZIKV infection and provide the first consistent ZIKV-associated phenotype in macaques for testing medical countermeasures.
    Date: 2022-12-09
    Authors: Rosinski JR, Raasch LE, Tiburcio PB, Breitbach ME, Shepherd PM, Yamamoto K, Razo E, Krabbe NP, Bliss MI, Richardson AD, Einwalter MA, Weiler AM, Sneed EL, Fuchs KB, Zeng X, Noguchi KK, Morgan TK, Alberts AJ, Antony KM, Kabakov S, Ausderau KK, Bohm EK, Pritchard JC, Spanton RV, Ver Hoove JN, Kim CBY, Nork TM, Katz AW, Rasmussen CA, Hartman A, Mejia A, Basu P, Simmons HA, Eickhoff JC, Friedrich TC, Aliota MT, Mohr EL, Dudley DM, O’Connor DH, Newman CM.
    Ref: bioRxiv
  25. Background Pregnant females affected with COVID-19 are reported to have poorer disease outcomes as compared to non-pregnant females of a similar age group. COVID-19 may lead to adverse changes in the placenta, which needs to be studied. Methods This is a case series of 63 pregnant women hospitalized with COVID-19 from May 2020 to February 2021.The primary outcomes were maternal death or complications. Results 63 women were studied. 83.3% of women were in the age group of 26 to 35 years. 33% women had associated comorbidities. 68.3% of women tested positive in their third trimester, 15.9% and 11% tested positive in their second and first trimesters respectively. 73% women had mild disease and 27% women required oxygen support. 3/63 women died. One woman in the second and two women in the third trimester died respectively. Histopathological examination in 13 placentae (of 19 placentae examined) were suggestive of maternal and fetal malperfusion. Conclusion Pregnant COVID-19 women may develop disease-related as well as obstetric complications.
    Date: 2022-11-30
    Authors: Madan S, Ramar D, Patel D, Chitaliya A, Shah N, Shah B, Thakkar V, Shah H, Chovatiya R, Dabhi P, Patel M, Patel A, Bapat N, Bhatt P, Naik A, Rana M, Nayak H, Sharma KD, Parikh P, Mehta B, Shah B.
    Ref: medRxiv
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