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Smallpox Variola Virus [keywords]
- The mature virion of ectromelia virus, a pathogenic poxvirus, is capable of intrahepatic spread and can serve as a target for delayed therapy. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- J Virol 2013 Apr 17.
Orthopoxviruses (OPV) which include the agent of smallpox variola virus, the zoonotic monkeypox virus, the vaccine and zoonotic species vaccinia virus and the mouse pathogen ectromelia virus (ECTV), form two types of infectious viral particles. The mature virus (MV) which is cytosolic and the enveloped virus (EV) which is extracellular. It is believed that MVs are required for viral entry into the host while EVs are responsible for spread within the host. Following footpad infection of susceptible mice, ECTV spreads lympho-hematogenously entering the liver 3-4 days post-infection (dpi). Afterwards, ECTV spreads intra-hepatically killing the host. We found that antibodies to an MV protein were highly effective at curing mice from ECTV infection when administered after the virus reached the liver. Moreover, a mutant ECTV that does not make EV was able to spread intra-hepatically and kill immunodeficient mice. Together, these findings indicate that MVs are sufficient for the spread of ECTV within the liver and could have implications regarding the pathogenesis of other OPVs, the treatment of emerging OPV infections, as well as for strategies of preparedness in case of accidental or intentional release of pathogenic OPVs.
- Genomic sequence and virulence of clonal isolates of vaccinia virus tiantan, the chinese smallpox vaccine strain. [Journal Article]
- PLoS One 2013; 8(4):e60557.
Despite the worldwide eradication of smallpox in 1979, the potential bioterrorism threat from variola virus and the ongoing use of vaccinia virus (VACV) as a vector for vaccine development argue for continued research on VACV. In China, the VACV Tiantan strain (TT) was used in the smallpox eradication campaign. Its progeny strain is currently being used to develop a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) vaccine. Here we sequenced the full genomes of five TT clones isolated by plaque purification from the TT (752-1) viral stock. Phylogenetic analysis with other commonly used VACV strains showed that TT (752-1) and its clones clustered and exhibited higher sequence diversity than that found in Dryvax clones. The ∼190 kbp genomes of TT appeared to encode 273 open reading frames (ORFs). ORFs located in the middle of the genome were more conserved than those located at the two termini, where many virulence and immunomodulation associated genes reside. Several patterns of nucleotide changes including point mutations, insertions and deletions were identified. The polymorphisms in seven virulence-associated proteins and six immunomodulation-related proteins were analyzed. We also investigated the neuro- and skin- virulence of TT clones in mice and rabbits, respectively. The TT clones exhibited significantly less virulence than the New York City Board of Health (NYCBH) strain, as evidenced by less extensive weight loss and morbidity in mice as well as produced smaller skin lesions and lower incidence of putrescence in rabbits. The complete genome sequences, ORF annotations, and phenotypic diversity yielded from this study aid our understanding of the Chinese historic TT strain and are useful for HIV vaccine projects employing TT as a vector.
- L1R, A27L, A33R and B5R vaccinia virus genes expressed by fowlpox recombinants as putative novel orthopoxvirus vaccines. [Journal Article]
- J Transl Med 2013.:95.
The traditional smallpox vaccine, administered by scarification, was discontinued in the general population from 1980, because of the absence of new smallpox cases. However, the development of an effective prophylactic vaccine against smallpox is still necessary, to protect from the threat of deliberate release of the variola virus for bioterrorism and from new zoonotic infections, and to improve the safety of the traditional vaccine. Preventive vaccination still remains the most effective control and new vectors have been developed to generate recombinant vaccines against smallpox that induce the same immunogenicity as the traditional one. As protective antibodies are mainly directed against the surface proteins of the two infectious forms of vaccinia, the intracellular mature virions and the extracellular virions, combined proteins from these viral forms can be used to better elicit a complete and protective immunity.Four novel viral recombinants were constructed based on the fowlpox genetic background, which independently express the vaccinia virus L1 and A27 proteins present on the mature virions, and the A33 and B5 proteins present on the extracellular virions. The correct expression of the transgenes was determined by RT-PCR, Western blotting, and immunofluorescence.Using immunoprecipitation and Western blotting, the ability of the proteins expressed by the four novel FPL1R, FPA27L, FPA33R and FPB5R recombinants to be recognized by VV-specific hyperimmune mouse sera was demonstrated. By neutralisation assays, recombinant virus particles released by infected chick embryo fibroblasts were shown not be recognised by hyperimmune sera. This thus demonstrates that the L1R, A27L, A33R and B5R gene products are not inserted into the new viral progeny. Fowlpox virus replicates only in avian species, but it is permissive for entry and transgene expression in mammalian cells, while being immunologically non-cross-reactive with vaccinia virus. These recombinants might therefore represent safer and more promising immunogens that can circumvent neutralisation by vector-generated immunity in smallpox-vaccine-experienced humans.
- Unintentional transfer of vaccinia virus associated with smallpox vaccines: ACAM2000 (®) compared with Dryvax (®). [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Hum Vaccin Immunother 2013 Apr 9; 9(7)
Background:Routine vaccination against smallpox (variola) ceased in the US in 1976. However, in 2002 limited coverage for military personnel and some healthcare workers was reinstituted. In March 2008, ACAM2000® replaced Dryvax® as the vaccine used in the United States against smallpox. Unintentional transfer of vaccinia virus from a vaccination site by autoinoculation or contact transmission, can have significant public health implications. We summarize unintentional virus transfer AEs associated with ACAM2000® since March 2008 and compare with Dryvax®.
Results:We identified 309 reports for ACAM2000® with skin or ocular involvement, of which 93 were autoinoculation cases and 20 were contact transmission cases. The rate for reported cases of autoinoculation was 20.6 per 100,000 vaccinations and for contact transmission was 4.4 per 100,000 vaccinations. Eighteen contact transmission cases could be attributed to contact during a sporting activity (45%) or intimate contact (45%). Of the 113 unintentional transfer cases, 6 met the case definition for ocular vaccinia. The most common locations for all autoinoculation and contact cases were arm/elbow/shoulder (35/113; 31%) and face (24/113; 21%).
Methods:We reviewed 753 reports associated with smallpox in the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System and CDC Poxvirus consultation log, reported from March 2008 to August 2010. Reports were classified into categories based upon standard case definitions.
Conclusion:Overall, unintentional transfer events for ACAM2000® and Dryvax® are similar. We recommend continued efforts to prevent transfer events and continuing education for healthcare providers focused on recognition of vaccinia lesions, proper sample collection, and laboratory testing to confirm diagnosis.
- Protective effect of surfactant protein d in pulmonary vaccinia virus infection: implication of A27 viral protein. [Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't]
- Viruses 2013 Mar; 5(3):928-53.
Vaccinia virus (VACV) was used as a surrogate of variola virus (VARV) (genus Orthopoxvirus), the causative agent of smallpox, to study Orthopoxvirus infection. VARV is principally transmitted between humans by aerosol droplets. Once inhaled, VARV first infects the respiratory tract where it could encounter surfactant components, such as soluble pattern recognition receptors. Surfactant protein D (SP-D), constitutively present in the lining fluids of the respiratory tract, plays important roles in innate host defense against virus infection. We investigated the role of SP-D in VACV infection and studied the A27 viral protein involvement in the interaction with SP-D. Interaction between SP-D and VACV caused viral inhibition in a lung cell model. Interaction of SP-D with VACV was mediated by the A27 viral protein. Binding required Ca2+ and interactions were blocked in the presence of excess of SP-D saccharide ligands. A27, which lacks glycosylation, directly interacted with SP-D. The interaction between SP-D and the viral particle was also observed using electron microscopy. Infection of mice lacking SP-D (SP-D-/-) resulted in increased mortality compared to SP-D+/+ mice. Altogether, our data show that SP-D participates in host defense against the vaccinia virus infection and that the interaction occurs with the viral surface protein A27.
- Poxvirus targeting of E3 ligase β-TrCP by molecular mimicry: a mechanism to inhibit NF-κB activation and promote immune evasion and virulence. [Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't]
- PLoS Pathog 2013 Feb; 9(2):e1003183.
The transcription factor NF-κB is essential for immune responses against pathogens and its activation requires the phosphorylation, ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation of IκBα. Here we describe an inhibitor of NF-κB from vaccinia virus that has a closely related counterpart in variola virus, the cause of smallpox, and mechanistic similarity with the HIV protein Vpu. Protein A49 blocks NF-κB activation by molecular mimicry and contains a motif conserved in IκBα which, in IκBα, is phosphorylated by IKKβ causing ubiquitination and degradation. Like IκBα, A49 binds the E3 ligase β-TrCP, thereby preventing ubiquitination and degradation of IκBα. Consequently, A49 stabilised phosphorylated IκBα (p-IκBα) and its interaction with p65, so preventing p65 nuclear translocation. Serine-to-alanine mutagenesis within the IκBα-like motif of A49 abolished β-TrCP binding, stabilisation of p-IκBα and inhibition of NF-κB activation. Remarkably, despite encoding nine other inhibitors of NF-κB, a VACV lacking A49 showed reduced virulence in vivo.
- Identification of SNPs associated with variola virus virulence. [Journal Article]
- BioData Min 2013; 6(1):3.
Decades after the eradication of smallpox, its etiological agent, variola virus (VARV), remains a threat as a potential bioweapon. Outbreaks of smallpox around the time of the global eradication effort exhibited variable case fatality rates (CFRs), likely attributable in part to complex viral genetic determinants of smallpox virulence. We aimed to identify genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphisms associated with CFR. We evaluated unadjusted and outbreak geographic location-adjusted models of single SNPs and two- and three-way interactions between SNPs.Using the data mining approach multifactor dimensionality reduction (MDR), we identified five VARV SNPs in models significantly associated with CFR. The top performing unadjusted model and adjusted models both revealed the same two-way gene-gene interaction. We discuss the biological plausibility of the influence of the SNPs identified these and other significant models on the strain-specific virulence of VARV.We have identified genetic loci in the VARV genome that are statistically associated with VARV virulence as measured by CFR. While our ability to infer a causal relationship between the specific SNPs identified in our analysis and VARV virulence is limited, our results suggest that smallpox severity is in part associated with VARV strain variation and that VARV virulence may be determined by multiple genetic loci. This study represents the first application of MDR to the identification of pathogen gene-gene interactions for predicting infectious disease outbreak severity.
- [Highly contagious diseases with human-to-human transmission]. [English Abstract, Journal Article]
- Klin Mikrobiol Infekc Lek 2012 Dec; 18(6):180-3.
Highly contagious diseases are caused by various biological agents that pose a risk to individuals and may have a potential for public health impact. They result in high mortality and morbidity rates, might cause public panic and therefore require special measures. The pathogens that can be easily disseminated or transmitted from person to person are the riskiest for clinicians (Ebola virus, Marburg virus, Lassa virus, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus, Variola major, SARS virus and Yersinia pestis). Human-to-human transmission has not been confirmed for the other biological agents and therefore they pose a very low risk for population.
- Development of a panel of recombinase polymerase amplification assays for detection of biothreat agents. [Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't]
- J Clin Microbiol 2013 Apr; 51(4):1110-7.
Syndromic panels for infectious disease have been suggested to be of value in point-of-care diagnostics for developing countries and for biodefense. To test the performance of isothermal recombinase polymerase amplification (RPA) assays, we developed a panel of 10 RPAs for biothreat agents. The panel included RPAs for Francisella tularensis, Yersinia pestis, Bacillus anthracis, variola virus, and reverse transcriptase RPA (RT-RPA) assays for Rift Valley fever virus, Ebola virus, Sudan virus, and Marburg virus. Their analytical sensitivities ranged from 16 to 21 molecules detected (probit analysis) for the majority of RPA and RT-RPA assays. A magnetic bead-based total nucleic acid extraction method was combined with the RPAs and tested using inactivated whole organisms spiked into plasma. The RPA showed comparable sensitivities to real-time RCR assays in these extracts. The run times of the assays at 42°C ranged from 6 to 10 min, and they showed no cross-detection of any of the target genomes of the panel nor of the human genome. The RPAs therefore seem suitable for the implementation of syndromic panels onto microfluidic platforms.
- Cowpox virus employs a two-pronged strategy to outflank MHCI antigen presentation. [Journal Article]
- Mol Immunol 2013 Sep; 55(2):156-8.
Smallpox decimated humanity for thousands of years before being eradicated by vaccination, a success facilitated by the fact that humans are the only host of variola virus. In contrast, other orthopoxviruses such as cowpox virus can infect a variety of mammalian species, although its dominant reservoir appears to be rodents. This difference in host specificity suggests that cowpox may have developed promiscuous immune evasion strategies to facilitate zoonosis. Recent experiments have established that cowpox can disrupt MHCI antigen presentation during viral infection of both human and murine cells, a process enabled by two unique proteins, CPXV012 and CPXV203. While CPXV012 inhibits antigenic peptide transport from the cytosol to the ER, CPXV203 blocks MHCI trafficking to the cell surface by exploiting the KDEL-receptor recycling pathway. Our recent investigations of CPXV203 reveal that it binds a diverse array of classical and non-classical MHCI proteins with dramatically increased affinities at the lower pH of the Golgi relative to the ER, thereby providing mechanistic insight into how it works synergistically with KDEL receptors to block MHCI surface expression. The strategy used by cowpox to both limit peptide supply and disrupt trafficking of fully assembled MHCI acts as a dual-edged sword that effectively disables adaptive immune surveillance of infected cells.