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Shirai T.,Nagahama Institute of Bio-Science and Technology | Shirai T.,Japan Science and Technology Agency | Saito M.,Nagahama Institute of Bio-Science and Technology | Saito M.,Japan Science and Technology Agency | And 11 more authors.
Structure | Year: 2014

The structural details of the essential entity of prion disease, fibril prion protein (PrPSc), are still elusive despite the large body of evidence supporting the prion hypothesis. Five major working models of PrP Sc structure, which are not compatible with each other, have been proposed. However, no systematic evaluation has been performed on those models. We devised a method that combined systematic point mutation with threading on knowledge-based amino acid potentials. A comprehensive mutation experiment was performed on mouse prion protein, and the PrPSc conversion efficiency of each mutant was examined. The models were evaluated based on the mutation data by using the threading method. Although the data turned out to be rather more consistent with the models that assumed a conversion of the N-terminal region of core PrP into a β helix than with others, substantial modifications were also required to further improve the current model based on recent experimental results. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Source


Kubota-Koketsu R.,Osaka University | Yunoki M.,Osaka University | Yunoki M.,Benesis Corporation | Okuno Y.,Osaka University | Ikuta K.,Osaka University
Biologics: Targets and Therapy | Year: 2012

Influenza A H2N2 virus, also known as the Asian flu, spread worldwide from 1957 to 1967, although there have been no cases reported in humans in the past 40 years. A vaccination program was introduced in Japan in the 1960s. Older Japanese donors could have been naturally infected with the H2N2 virus or vaccinated in the early 1960s. Human intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) reflects the epidemiological status of the donating population in a given time period. Here, the possible viral neutralizing (VN) activities of IVIG against the H2N2 virus were examined. Hemagglutination inhibition (HI) and VN activities of IVIG lots manufactured from 1993 to 2010 in Japan and the United States were evaluated against H2N2 viruses. High HI and VN activities against H2N2 viruses were found in all the IVIG lots investigated. HI titers were 32-64 against the isolate in 1957 and 64-128 against the isolates in 1965. VN titers were 80-320 against the isolate in 1957 and 1280-5120 against the isolates in 1965. Both the HI and VN titers were higher against the isolate in 1965 than in 1957. Thus, antibody titers of IVIG against influenza viruses are well correlated with the history of infection and the vaccine program in Japan. Therefore, evaluation of antibody titers provides valuable information about IVIGs, which could be used for immune stimulation when a new influenza virus emerges in the human population. © 2012 Kubota-Koketsu et al, publisher and licensee Dove Medical Press Ltd. Source


Yamashita A.,Research Institute for Microbial Diseases | Kawashita N.,Osaka University | Kubota-Koketsu R.,Research Institute for Microbial Diseases | Inoue Y.,Research Institute for Microbial Diseases | And 10 more authors.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications | Year: 2010

The epitope sequences within the hemagglutinin (HA) of influenza A virus H3N2 at amino acid residues 173-181 and 227-239 that forms anti-parallel β-sheet structure are similarly recognized by human monoclonal antibodies (HuMAbs), B-1 and D-1 that we recently obtained using the peripheral blood lymphocytes from two influenza-vaccinated volunteers. Both HuMAbs showed strong global neutralization of H3N2 strains. Here we show the significant conservation of the β-sheet region consisting of the above-mentioned two epitope regions in H3N2. In addition, we also identified the corresponding regions with similar structure in other subtypes such as H1N1 and H5N1. These two regions are similarly located underneath the receptor-binding sites of individual subtypes. Analysis of those regions using sequences available from the Influenza Virus Resource at the National Center for Biotechnology Information revealed that compared with those in the known neutralizing epitopes A-E, those sequences were fairly conserved in human H3N2 (n = 7955), swine H1N1 (n = 360) and swine H3N2 (n = 235); and highly conserved in human H1N1 (n = 2722), swine-origin pandemic H1N1 (n = 1474), human H5N1 (n = 319) and avian H5N1 (n = 2349). Phylogenetic tree for these regions formed clearly separable clusters for H1N1, H3N2 and H5N1, irrespective of different host origin. These data may suggest a possible significance of those regions for development of alternative vaccine that could induce neutralizing antibodies reactive against wide-range of influenza virus strains. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Source


Kanai Y.,Rakuno Gakuen University | Kanai Y.,Thailand Japan Research Collaboration Center on Emerging and Re emerging Infections | Tsujikawa M.,Benesis Corporation | Yunoki M.,Benesis Corporation | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Medical Virology | Year: 2010

Pigs are presumed reservoirs for hepatitis E virus (HEV) transmission to humans. To examine infection kinetics, two litters of domestic pigs (A and B, each containing 10 piglets) infected naturally with HEV were studied until pigs were 6 months old. Maternal IgG and IgA antibodies were detected in litter A piglets, but not in litter B ones. All pigs shed HEV in feces when they were 30-110 days old, and 17 developed viremia at 40-100 days of age. Phylogenetic analysis revealed a highly close sequence of HEV genotype 3 in all pigs. The serum levels of specific IgG and IgA were similar in all pigs, although IgA was not detected in the feces. Interestingly, the onset of both viremia and seroconversion was delayed significantly in litter A pigs. The kinetics of fecal virus shedding was similar in both litters; shedding was not detected after the pigs were 120 days old. The differences in the infection kinetics between litters A and B suggested that maternal antibodies delayed the onset of viremia and seroconversion. Quantitative realtime reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction revealed that HEV RNA in feces peaked 10 days after initial shedding of approximately 106.0 copies/g. The viral load was much lower in the serum than in the feces. At 200 days of age, HEV RNA was found in the internal organs of 3 out of 13 pigs. These study findings improve the understanding of the dynamics of natural HEV transmission in pigs, which could help in controlling virus transmission from pigs to humans. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc. Source


Kanai Y.,Rakuno Gakuen University | Kanai Y.,London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine | Miyasaka S.,Rakuno Gakuen University | Uyama S.,Rakuno Gakuen University | And 7 more authors.
BMC Research Notes | Year: 2012

Background: Hepatitis E virus (HEV) transmitted via the oral route through the consumption of contaminated water or uncooked or undercooked contaminated meat has been implicated in major outbreaks. Rats may play a critical role in HEV outbreaks, considering their negative effects on environmental hygiene and food sanitation. Although the serological evidence of HEV infection in wild rodents has been reported worldwide, the infectivity and propagation of HEV in wild rats remain unknown. To investigate if rats are a possible carrier of HEV, we studied wild Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) that were caught near a pig farm, where HEV was prevalent among the pigs. Methods. We examined 56 Norway rats for HEV. RNA from internal organs was examined for RT-PCR and positive samples were sequenced. Positive tissue samples were incubated with A549 cell line to isolate HEV. Anti-HEV antibodies were detected by ELISA. Results: Sixteen rats were seropositive, and the HEV RNA was detected in 10 of the 56 rats. Sequencing of the partial ORF1 gene from 7 samples resulted in partially sequenced HEV, belonging to genotype 3, which was genetically identical to the HEV prevalent in the swine from the source farm. The infectious HEVs were isolated from the Norway rats by using the human A549 cell line. Conclusions: There was a relatively high prevalence (17.9%) of the HEV genome in wild Norway rats. The virus was mainly detected in the liver and spleen. The results indicate that these animals might be possible carrier of swine HEV in endemic regions. The HEV contamination risk due to rats needs to be examined in human habitats. © 2011 Kanai et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

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