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Dudek S.E.,Institute of Molecular Virology | Dudek S.E.,ViroLogik GmbH | Luig C.,Institute of Molecular Virology | Pauli E.-K.,ViroLogik GmbH | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Virology | Year: 2010

Recently it has been shown that the proinflammatory NF-κB pathway promotes efficient influenza virus propagation. Based on these findings, it was suggested that NF-κB blockade may be a promising approach for antiviral intervention. The classical virus-induced activation of the NF-κB pathway requires proteasomal degradation of the inhibitor of NF-κB, IκB. Therefore, we hypothesized that inhibition of proteasomal IκB degradation should impair influenza A virus (IAV) replication. We chose the specific proteasome inhibitor PS-341, which is a clinically approved anticancer drug also known as Bortezomib or Velcade. As expected, PS-341 treatment of infected A549 cells in a concentration range that was not toxic resulted in a significant reduction of progeny virus titers. However, we could not observe the proposed suppression of NF-κB-signaling in vitro. Rather, PS-341 treatment resulted in an induction of IκB degradation and activation of NF-κB as well as the JNK/AP-1 pathway. This coincides with enhanced expression of antiviral genes, such as interleukin-6 and, most importantly, MxA, which is a strong interferon (IFN)-induced suppressor of influenza virus replication. This suggests that PS-341 may act as an antiviral agent via induction of the type I IFN response. Accordingly, PS-341 did not affect virus titers in Vero cells, which lack type I IFN genes, but strongly inhibited replication of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), a highly IFN-sensitive pathogen. Thus, we conclude that PS-341 blocks IAV and VSV replication by inducing an antiviral state mediated by the NF-κB-dependent expression of antivirus-acting gene products. Copyright © 2010, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


Henkel M.,TU Darmstadt | Mitzner D.,ViroLogik GmbH | Henklein P.,Humboldt University of Berlin | Meyer-Almes F.-J.,FH Darmstadt | And 8 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2010

Background: PB1-F2 is a proapoptotic influenza A virus protein of approximately 90 amino acids in length that is located in the nucleus, cytosol and in the mitochondria membrane of infected cells. Previous studies indicated that the molecule destabilizes planar lipid bilayers and has a strong inherent tendency for multimerization. This may be correlate with its capacity to induce mitochondrial membrane depolarization. Methodology/Principal Findings: Here, we investigated whether PB1-F2 is able to form ion channels within planar lipid bilayers and microsomes. For that purpose, a set of biologically active synthetic versions of PB1-F2 (sPB1-F2) derived from the IAV isolates A/Puerto Rico/8/34(H1N1) (IAVPR8), from A/Brevig Mission/1/1918(H1N1) (IAVSF2) or the H5N1 consensus sequence (IAVBF2) were used. Electrical and fluorimetric measurements show that all three peptides generate in planar lipid bilayers or in liposomes, respectively, a barely selective conductance that is associated with stochastic channel type fluctuations between a closed state and at least two defined open states. Unitary channel fluctuations were also generated when a truncated protein comprising only the 37 c-terminal amino acids of sPB1-F2 was reconstituted in bilayers. Experiments were complemented by extensive molecular dynamics simulations of the truncated fragment in a lipid bilayer. The results indicate that the c-terminal region exhibits a slightly bent helical fold, which is stable and remains embedded in the bilayer for over 180 ns. Conclusion/Significance: The data support the idea that PB1-F2 is able to form protein channel pores with no appreciable selectivity in membranes and that the c-terminus is important for this function. This information could be important for drug development. © 2010 Henkel et al.


Metz P.,University of Heidelberg | Dazert E.,University of Heidelberg | Dazert E.,University of Basel | Ruggieri A.,University of Heidelberg | And 16 more authors.
Hepatology | Year: 2012

Persistent infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) can lead to chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. All current therapies of hepatitis C include interferon-alpha (IFN-α). Moreover, IFN-gamma (IFN-γ), the only type II IFN, strongly inhibits HCV replication in vitro and is the primary mediator of HCV-specific antiviral T-cell responses. However, for both cytokines the precise set of effector protein(s) responsible for replication inhibition is not known. The aim of this study was the identification of IFN-α and IFN-γ stimulated genes (ISGs) responsible for controlling HCV replication. We devised an RNA interference (RNAi)-based "gain of function" screen and identified, in addition to known ISGs earlier reported to suppress HCV replication, several new ones with proven antiviral activity. These include IFIT3 (IFN-induced protein with tetratricopeptide repeats 3), TRIM14 (tripartite motif containing 14), PLSCR1 (phospholipid scramblase 1), and NOS2 (nitric oxide synthase 2, inducible). All ISGs identified in this study were up-regulated both by IFN-α and IFN-γ, demonstrating a substantial overlap of HCV-specific effectors induced by either cytokine. Nevertheless, some ISGs were more specific for IFN-α or IFN-γ, which was most pronounced in case of PLSCR1 and NOS2 that were identified as main effectors of IFN-γ-mediated anti-HCV activity. Combinatorial knockdowns of ISGs suggest additive or synergistic effects demonstrating that with either IFN, inhibition of HCV replication is caused by the combined action of multiple ISGs. Conclusion: Our study identifies a number of novel ISGs contributing to the suppression of HCV replication by type I and type II IFN. We demonstrate a substantial overlap of antiviral programs triggered by either cytokine and show that suppression of HCV replication is mediated by the concerted action of multiple effectors. © 2012 American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.


Reiss S.,University of Heidelberg | Rebhan I.,University of Heidelberg | Backes P.,University of Heidelberg | Romero-Brey I.,University of Heidelberg | And 25 more authors.
Cell Host and Microbe | Year: 2011

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major causative agent of chronic liver disease in humans. To gain insight into host factor requirements for HCV replication, we performed a siRNA screen of the human kinome and identified 13 different kinases, including phosphatidylinositol-4 kinase III alpha (PI4KIIIα), as being required for HCV replication. Consistent with elevated levels of the PI4KIIIα product phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate (PI4P) detected in HCV-infected cultured hepatocytes and liver tissue from chronic hepatitis C patients, the enzymatic activity of PI4KIIIα was critical for HCV replication. Viral nonstructural protein 5A (NS5A) was found to interact with PI4KIIIα and stimulate its kinase activity. The absence of PI4KIIIα activity induced a dramatic change in the ultrastructural morphology of the membranous HCV replication complex. Our analysis suggests that the direct activation of a lipid kinase by HCV NS5A contributes critically to the integrity of the membranous viral replication complex. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.


Kircheis R.,ViroLogik GmbH | Halanek N.,Vela Pharmazeutische Entwicklung und Laboranalytik GmbH | Koller I.,Vela Pharmazeutische Entwicklung und Laboranalytik GmbH | Jost W.,greenovation Biotech | And 5 more authors.
mAbs | Year: 2012

A major limitation to the application of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) is their reduced in vivo efficacy compared with the high efficacy measured in vitro. Effector functions such as antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) are dramatically reduced in vivo by the presence of high amounts of endogenous IgG in the serum. Recent studies have shown that modification of the glycosylation moieties attached to the Fc part of the mAb can enhance binding affinity to FcγRIIIα receptors on natural killer cells and thus may counteract the reduced in vivo efficacy. In the present study, a humanized IgG1/κ monoclonal antibody recognizing the tumor-associated carbohydrate antigen Lewis Y was stably produced in a moss expression system that allows glyco-engineering. The glyco-modified mAb (designated MB314) showed a highly homogeneous N-glycosylation pattern lacking core-fucose. A side-by-side comparison to its parental counterpart produced in conventional mammalian cell-culture (MB311, formerly known as IGN311) by fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis confirmed that the target specificity of MB314 is similar to that of MB311. In contrast, ADCC effector function of MB314 was increased up to 40-fold whereas complement dependent cytotoxicity activity was decreased 5-fold. Notably, a release of immunostimulatory cytokines, including interferonγ, monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1), interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) was particularly induced with the glyco-modified antibody. TNF release was associated with CD14+ cells, indicating activation of monocytes. © 2012 Landes Bioscience.


Nechansky A.,Vela Pharmazeutische Entwicklung und Laboranalytik GmbH | Kircheis R.,ViroLogik GmbH
Expert Opinion on Drug Discovery | Year: 2010

Importance of the field: The unwanted immunogenicity of therapeutic proteins is a major concern regarding patient safety. Furthermore, pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic and clinical efficacy can be seriously affected by the immunogenicity of therapeutic proteins. Authorities have fully recognized this issue and demand appropriate and well-characterized assays to detect anti-drug antibodies (ADAs). Areas covered in this review: We provide an overview of the immunogenicity topic in general, the regulatory background and insight into underlying immunological mechanisms and the limited ability to predict clinical immunogenicity a priori. Furthermore, we comment on the analytical testing approach and the status-quo of appropriate method validation. What the reader will gain: The review provides insight regarding the analytical approach that is expected by regulatory authorities overseeing immunogenicity testing requirements. Additionally, the factors influencing immunogenicity are summarized and key references regarding immunogenicity testing approaches and method validation are discussed. Take home message: The unwanted immunogenicity of protein therapeutics is of major concern because of its potential to affect patient safety and drug efficacy. Analytical testing is sophisticated and requires more than one assay. Because immunogenicity in humans is hardly predictable, assay development has to start in a timely fashion and for clinical studies immunogenicity assay validation is mandatory prior to analyzing patient serum samples. Regarding ADAs, the question remains as to when such antibodies are regarded of clinical relevance and what levels are, if at all, acceptable. In summary, the detection of ADAs should raise the awareness of the physician concerning patient safety and of the sponsor/manufacture concerning the immunogenic potential of the drug product. © 2010 Informa UK, Ltd.


Grabowska A.M.,University of Nottingham | Kircheis R.,ViroLogik GmbH | Kumari R.,PRECOS Ltd | Clarke P.,University of Nottingham | And 7 more authors.
Biomaterials Science | Year: 2015

Materials for delivery of oligonucleotides need to be simple to produce yet effective in vivo to be considered for clinical applications. Formulations of biomaterials based on combinations of existing demonstrated polymeric gene carriers with targeted derivatives are potential candidates for rapid translation but have not been fully explored for siRNA applications. Here we investigated formulations based on derivatised PEI for delivery of siRNA to gastrointestinal cancer cells. siRNA was complexed with linear PEI alone or with a mixture of linear PEI and transferrin-conjugated branched PEI (TfPEI), and knockdown of reporter genes was investigated. Overall, the in vitro use of complexes containing TfPEI resulted in up to 93% knockdown at 72 h post-transfection. Sustained knockdown was also achieved in a bioluminescent xenograft model. When complexes were delivered intratumorally, a 43% reduction in luminescence was achieved in the treated group compared with the control group 48 h after treatment. For systemic administration, only the intraperitoneal route, and not the intravenous route was effective, with 49% knockdown achieved at 72 h and sustained up to 144 h (44%) after a single administration of TfPEI-complexed siRNA. No toxicity or induction of the interferon response was observed. These findings demonstrate that simple formulations of transferrin-conjugated PEI with a 'parent' polymer such as linear PEI have potential as a method for therapeutic delivery of siRNA when administered either intratumorally or systemically. © The Royal Society of Chemistry.


Stirnnagel K.,TU Dresden | Luftenegger D.,TU Dresden | Luftenegger D.,ViroLogik GmbH | Stange A.,TU Dresden | And 11 more authors.
Retrovirology | Year: 2010

Background: The foamy virus (FV) replication cycle displays several unique features, which set them apart from orthoretroviruses. First, like other B/D type orthoretroviruses, FV capsids preassemble at the centrosome, but more similar to hepadnaviruses, FV budding is strictly dependent on cognate viral glycoprotein coexpression. Second, the unusually broad host range of FV is thought to be due to use of a very common entry receptor present on host cell plasma membranes, because all cell lines tested in vitro so far are permissive.Results: In order to take advantage of modern fluorescent microscopy techniques to study FV replication, we have created FV Gag proteins bearing a variety of protein tags and evaluated these for their ability to support various steps of FV replication. Addition of even small N-terminal HA-tags to FV Gag severely impaired FV particle release. For example, release was completely abrogated by an N-terminal autofluorescent protein (AFP) fusion, despite apparently normal intracellular capsid assembly. In contrast, C-terminal Gag-tags had only minor effects on particle assembly, egress and particle morphogenesis. The infectivity of C-terminal capsid-tagged FV vector particles was reduced up to 100-fold in comparison to wild type; however, infectivity was rescued by coexpression of wild type Gag and assembly of mixed particles. Specific dose-dependent binding of fluorescent FV particles to target cells was demonstrated in an Env-dependent manner, but not binding to target cell-extracted- or synthetic- lipids. Screening of target cells of various origins resulted in the identification of two cell lines, a human erythroid precursor- and a zebrafish- cell line, resistant to FV Env-mediated FV- and HIV-vector transduction.Conclusions: We have established functional, autofluorescent foamy viral particles as a valuable new tool to study FV - host cell interactions using modern fluorescent imaging techniques. Furthermore, we succeeded for the first time in identifying two cell lines resistant to Prototype Foamy Virus Env-mediated gene transfer. Interestingly, both cell lines still displayed FV Env-dependent attachment of fluorescent retroviral particles, implying a post-binding block potentially due to lack of putative FV entry cofactors. These cell lines might ultimately lead to the identification of the currently unknown ubiquitous cellular entry receptor(s) of FVs. © 2010 Stirnnagel et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


A major limitation to the application of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) is their reduced in vivo efficacy compared with the high efficacy measured in vitro. Effector functions such as antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC) are dramatically reduced in vivo by the presence of high amounts of endogenous IgG in the serum. Recent studies have shown that modification of the glycosylation moieties attached to the Fc part of the mAb can enhance binding affinity to FcRIII receptors on natural killer cells and thus may counteract the reduced in vivo efficacy. In the present study, a humanized IgG1/ monoclonal antibody recognizing the tumor-associated carbohydrate antigen Lewis Y was stably produced in a moss expression system that allows glyco-engineering. The glyco-modified mAb (designated MB314) showed a highly homogeneous N-glycosylation pattern lacking core-fucose. A side-by-side comparison to its parental counterpart produced in conventional mammalian cell-culture (MB311, formerly known as IGN311) by fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis confirmed that the target specificity of MB314 is similar to that of MB311. In contrast, ADCC effector function of MB314 was increased up to 40-fold whereas complement dependent cytotoxicity activity was decreased 5-fold. Notably, a release of immunostimulatory cytokines, including interferon , monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1), interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) was particularly induced with the glyco-modified antibody. TNF release was associated with CD14 (+) cells, indicating activation of monocytes.


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