Virus and Prion Research Unit

Ames, IA, United States

Virus and Prion Research Unit

Ames, IA, United States

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Hwang S.,Virus and Prion Research Unit | Greenlee J.J.,Virus and Prion Research Unit | Nicholson E.M.,Virus and Prion Research Unit
PLoS ONE | Year: 2017

Prions are amyloid-forming proteins that cause transmissible spongiform encephalopathies through a process involving conversion from the normal cellular prion protein to the pathogenic misfolded conformation (PrPSc ). This conversion has been used for in vitro assays including serial protein misfolding amplification and real-time quaking induced conversion (RT-QuIC). RT-QuIC can be used for the detection of prions in a variety of biological tissues from humans and animals. Extensive work has been done to demonstrate that RT-QuIC is a rapid, specific, and highly sensitive prion detection assay. RT-QuIC uses recombinant prion protein to detect minute amounts of PrPSc . RT-QuIC has been successfully used to detect PrPSc from different prion diseases with a variety of substrates including hamster, human, sheep, bank vole, bovine and chimeric forms of prion protein. However, recombinant bovine prion protein has not been used to detect transmissible mink encephalopathy (TME) or to differentiate types of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in samples from cattle. We evaluated whether PrPSc from TME and BSE infected cattle can be detected with RT-QuIC using recombinant bovine prion proteins, and optimized the reaction conditions to specifically detect cattle TME and to discriminate between classical and atypical BSE by conversion efficiency. We also found that substrate composed of the disease associated E211K mutant protein can be effective for the detection of TME in cattle and that wild type prion protein appears to be a practical substrate to discriminate between the different types of BSEs.


Jiang Z.,Washington State University | Zhou X.,Washington State University | Michal J.J.,Washington State University | Wu X.-L.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | And 9 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) has devastated pig industries worldwide for many years. It is caused by a small RNA virus (PRRSV), which targets almost exclusively pig monocytes or macrophages. In the present study, five SAGE (serial analysis of gene expression) libraries derived from 0 hour mock-infected and 6, 12, 16 and 24 hours PRRSV-infected porcine alveolar macrophages (PAMs) produced a total 643,255 sequenced tags with 91,807 unique tags. Differentially expressed (DE) tags were then detected using the Bayesian framework followed by gene/mRNA assignment, arbitrary selection and manual annotation, which determined 699 DE genes for reactome analysis. The DAVID, KEGG and REACTOME databases assigned 573 of the DE genes into six biological systems, 60 functional categories and 504 pathways. The six systems are: cellular processes, genetic information processing, environmental information processing, metabolism, organismal systems and human diseases as defined by KEGG with modification. Self-organizing map (SOM) analysis further grouped these 699 DE genes into ten clusters, reflecting their expression trends along these five time points. Based on the number one functional category in each system, cell growth and death, transcription processes, signal transductions, energy metabolism, immune system and infectious diseases formed the major reactomes of PAMs responding to PRRSV infection. Our investigation also focused on dominant pathways that had at least 20 DE genes identified, multi-pathway genes that were involved in 10 or more pathways and exclusively-expressed genes that were included in one system. Overall, our present study reported a large set of DE genes, compiled a comprehensive coverage of pathways, and revealed system-based reactomes of PAMs infected with PRRSV. We believe that our reactome data provides new insight into molecular mechanisms involved in host genetic complexity of antiviral activities against PRRSV and lays a strong foundation for vaccine development to control PRRS incidence in pigs.


Nicholson T.L.,Virus and Prion Research Unit | Nicholson T.L.,U.S. Department of Agriculture | Kukielka D.,Complutense University of Madrid | Vincent A.L.,Virus and Prion Research Unit | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Clinical Microbiology | Year: 2011

Several factors have recently converged, elevating the need for highly parallel diagnostic platforms that have the ability to detect many known, novel, and emerging pathogenic agents simultaneously. Panviral DNA microarrays represent the most robust approach for massively parallel viral surveillance and detection. The Virochip is a panviral DNA microarray that is capable of detecting all known viruses, as well as novel viruses related to known viral families, in a single assay and has been used to successfully identify known and novel viral agents in clinical human specimens. However, the usefulness and the sensitivity of the Virochip platform have not been tested on a set of clinical veterinary specimens with the high degree of genetic variance that is frequently observed with swine virus field isolates. In this report, we investigate the utility and sensitivity of the Virochip to positively detect swine viruses in both cell culture-derived samples and clinical swine samples. The Virochip successfully detected porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) in serum containing 6.10 × 102 viral copies per microliter and influenza A virus in lung lavage fluid containing 2.08 × 106 viral copies per microliter. The Virochip also successfully detected porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2) in serum containing 2.50 × 108 viral copies per microliter and porcine respiratory coronavirus (PRCV) in turbinate tissue homogenate. Collectively, the data in this report demonstrate that the Virochip can successfully detect pathogenic viruses frequently found in swine in a variety of solid and liquid specimens, such as turbinate tissue homogenate and lung lavage fluid, as well as antemortem samples, such as serum. Copyright © 2011, American Society for Microbiology.


Butler J.E.,University of Iowa | Lager K.M.,Virus and Prion Research Unit | Golde W.,Foreign Animal Disease Unit | Faaberg K.S.,Virus and Prion Research Unit | And 3 more authors.
Immunologic Research | Year: 2014

Porcine reproductive and respiratory disease syndrome (PRRS) is a viral pandemic that especially affects neonates within the "critical window" of immunological development. PRRS was recognized in 1987 and within a few years became pandemic causing an estimated yearly $600,000 economic loss in the USA with comparative losses in most other countries. The causative agent is a single-stranded, positive-sense enveloped arterivirus (PRRSV) that infects macrophages and plasmacytoid dendritic cells. Despite the discovery of PRRSV in 1991 and the publication of >2,000 articles, the control of PRRS is problematic. Despite the large volume of literature on this disease, the cellular and molecular mechanisms describing how PRRSV dysregulates the host immune system are poorly understood. We know that PRRSV suppresses innate immunity and causes abnormal B cell proliferation and repertoire development, often lymphopenia and thymic atrophy. The PRRSV genome is highly diverse, rapidly evolving but amenable to the generation of many mutants and chimeric viruses for experimental studies. PRRSV only replicates in swine which adds to the experimental difficulty since no inbred well-defined animal models are available. In this article, we summarize current knowledge and apply it toward developing a series of provocative and testable hypotheses to explain how PRRSV immunomodulates the porcine immune system with the goal of adding new perspectives on this disease. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media.


Braucher D.R.,Virus and Prion Research Unit | Braucher D.R.,Boehringer Ingelheim | Henningson J.N.,Virus and Prion Research Unit | Henningson J.N.,Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory | And 6 more authors.
Clinical and Vaccine Immunology | Year: 2012

Influenza A virus (IAV) is widely circulating in the swine population and causes significant economic losses. To combat IAV infection, the swine industry utilizes adjuvanted whole inactivated virus (WIV) vaccines, using a prime-boost strategy. These vaccines can provide sterilizing immunity toward homologous virus but often have limited efficacy against a heterologous infection. There is a need for vaccine platforms that induce mucosal and cell-mediated immunity that is cross-reactive to heterologous viruses and can be produced in a short time frame. Nonreplicating adenovirus 5 vector (Ad5) vaccines are one option, as they can be produced rapidly and given intranasally to induce local immunity. Thus, we compared the immunogenicity and efficacy of a single intranasal dose of an Ad5-vectored hemagglutinin (Ad5-HA) vaccine to those of a traditional intramuscular administration of WIV vaccine. Ad5-HA vaccination induced a mucosal IgA response toward homologous IAV and primed an antigen-specific gamma interferon (IFN-γ) response against both challenge viruses. The Ad5-HA vaccine provided protective immunity to homologous challenge and partial protection against heterologous challenge, unlike the WIV vaccine. Nasal shedding was significantly reduced and virus was cleared from the lung by day 5 postinfection following heterologous challenge of Ad5-HA-vaccinated pigs. However, the WIV-vaccinated pigs displayed vaccine-associated enhanced respiratory disease (VAERD) following heterologous challenge, characterized by enhanced macroscopic lung lesions. This study demonstrates that a single intranasal vaccination with an Ad5-HA construct can provide complete protection from homologous challenge and partial protection from heterologous challenge, as opposed to VAERD, which can occur with adjuvanted WIV vaccines. Copyright © 2012, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.


Greenlee M.H.W.,Iowa State University | Smith J.D.,Virus and Prion Research Unit | Smith J.D.,Iowa State University | Platt E.M.,Iowa State University | And 3 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) belongs to a group of fatal, transmissible protein misfolding diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). All TSEs are caused by accumulation of misfolded prion protein (PrPSc) throughout the central nervous system (CNS), which results in neuronal loss and ultimately death. Like other protein misfolding diseases including Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease, TSEs are generally not diagnosed until the onset of disease after the appearance of unequivocal clinical signs. As such, identification of the earliest clinical signs of disease may facilitate diagnosis. The retina is the most accessible part of the central nervous system, and retinal pathology in TSE affected animals has been previously reported. Here we describe antemortem changes in retinal function and morphology that are detectable in BSE inoculated animals several months (up to 11 months) prior to the appearance of any other signs of clinical disease. We also demonstrate that differences in the severity of these clinical signs reflect the amount of PrPSc accumulation in the retina and the resulting inflammatory response of the tissue. These results are the earliest reported clinical signs associated with TSE infection and provide a basis for understanding the pathology and evaluating therapeutic interventions.


Peterson N.A.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Anderson T.K.,Virus and Prion Research Unit | Yoshino T.P.,University of Wisconsin - Madison
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Fucosylated glycans of the parasitic flatworm Schistosoma mansoni play key roles in its development and immunobiology. In the present study we used a genome-wide homology-based bioinformatics approach to search for genes that contribute to fucosylated glycan expression in S. mansoni, specifically the α2-, α3-, and α6-fucosyltransferases (FucTs), which transfer L-fucose from a GDP-L-fucose donor to an oligosaccharide acceptor. We identified and in silico characterized several novel schistosome FucT homologs, including six α3-FucTs and six α6-FucTs, as well as two protein O-FucTs that catalyze the unrelated transfer of L-fucose to serine and threonine residues of epidermal growth factor- and thrombospondin-type repeats. No α2-FucTs were observed. Primary sequence analyses identified key conserved FucT motifs as well as characteristic transmembrane domains, consistent with their putative roles as fucosyltransferases. Most genes exhibit alternative splicing, with multiple transcript variants generated. A phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that schistosome α3- and α6-FucTs form monophyletic clades within their respective gene families, suggesting multiple gene duplications following the separation of the schistosome lineage from the main evolutionary tree. Quantitative decreases in steady-state transcript levels of some FucTs during early larval development suggest a possible mechanism for differential expression of fucosylated glycans in schistosomes. This study systematically identifies the complete repertoire of FucT homologs in S. mansoni and provides fundamental information regarding their genomic organization, genetic variation, developmental expression, and evolutionary history. © 2013 Peterson et al.


Smith J.D.,Virus and Prion Research Unit | Greenlee J.J.,Virus and Prion Research Unit | Foster G.H.,Virus and Prion Research Unit | Nicholson E.M.,Virus and Prion Research Unit
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry | Year: 2012

Bioassay is considered the most sensitive method for evaluating prion inactivation procedures. Because prions are resistant to methods effective at inactivating conventional microorganisms, prion inactivation research has focused on relatively harsh alternatives, such as concentrated sodium hypochlorite or sodium hydroxide. Often, bioassay for residual infectivity in these studies requires dilution or biochemical alteration of the treated sample in order to maintain subject health and survival. Ideally, prions from treated samples could be sufficiently separated from the inactivating agent without alteration of the sample and with negligible loss of infectivity prior to inoculation into the bioassay host. The current study was designed to evaluate acetone precipitation of the disease-associated form of the prion protein (PrPSc) from brain homogenate derived from mice with the RML (Rocky Mountain Laboratory) strain of scrapie. The ability to recover PrPSc was evaluated by Western blot. Dilutions of acetone-precipitated RML-positive brain homogenate were compared to nonprecipitated RML homogenate, resulting in similar PrPSc detection levels down to 0.025 mg equivalents of brain tissue. The impact of the method on infectivity was investigated by bioassay in intracranially inoculated tga20 mice. Additionally, contributions to infectivity from the pellet and supernatant fractions were investigated. Acetone precipitation resulted in a 1-log10 reduction in infectivity. Infectivity could not be reconstituted by the acetone soluble fraction of the infectious sample or uninfected brain. This study demonstrates that PrP Sc can successfully be precipitated out of infected brain homogenate using acetone but that there is a reduction in infectivity attributable to the procedure that would need to be considered when evaluating bioassay results. © 2012 American Chemical Society.


PubMed | Virus and Prion Research Unit and Iowa State University
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2015

Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) belongs to a group of fatal, transmissible protein misfolding diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs). All TSEs are caused by accumulation of misfolded prion protein (PrPSc) throughout the central nervous system (CNS), which results in neuronal loss and ultimately death. Like other protein misfolding diseases including Parkinsons disease and Alzheimers disease, TSEs are generally not diagnosed until the onset of disease after the appearance of unequivocal clinical signs. As such, identification of the earliest clinical signs of disease may facilitate diagnosis. The retina is the most accessible part of the central nervous system, and retinal pathology in TSE affected animals has been previously reported. Here we describe antemortem changes in retinal function and morphology that are detectable in BSE inoculated animals several months (up to 11 months) prior to the appearance of any other signs of clinical disease. We also demonstrate that differences in the severity of these clinical signs reflect the amount of PrPSc accumulation in the retina and the resulting inflammatory response of the tissue. These results are the earliest reported clinical signs associated with TSE infection and provide a basis for understanding the pathology and evaluating therapeutic interventions.


PubMed | Virus and Prion Research Unit and University of Wisconsin - Madison
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of medical entomology | Year: 2016

Insect-specific flaviviruses (ISFVs) commonly infect vectors of mosquito-borne arboviruses. To investigate whether infection with an ISFV might affect mosquito flight behavior, we quantified flight behavior in Culex pipiens L. naturally infected with Culex flavivirus (CxFV). We observed a significant reduction in the scotophase (dark hours) flight activity of CxFV-positive mosquitoes relative to CxFV-negative mosquitoes, but only a marginal reduction in photophase (light hours) flight activity, and no change in the circadian pattern of flight activity. These results suggest that CxFV infection alters the flight activity of naturally infected Cx. pipiens most dramatically when these vectors are likely to be host seeking and may therefore affect the transmission of medically important arboviruses.

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