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Dziuba N.,University of Texas Medical Branch | Ferguson M.R.,University of Texas Medical Branch | O'Brien W.A.,University of Texas Medical Branch | O'Brien W.A.,Zirus Inc. | And 12 more authors.
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses | Year: 2012

Cellular proteins are essential for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) replication and may serve as viable new targets for treating infection. Using gene trap insertional mutagenesis, a high-throughput approach based on random inactivation of cellular genes, candidate genes were found that limit virus replication when mutated. Disrupted genes (N=87) conferring resistance to lytic infection with several viruses were queried for an affect on HIV-1 replication by utilizing small interfering RNA (siRNA) screens in TZM-bl cells. Several genes regulating diverse pathways were found to be required for HIV-1 replication, including DHX8, DNAJA1, GTF2E1, GTF2E2, HAP1, KALRN, UBA3, UBE2E3, and VMP1. Candidate genes were independently tested in primary human macrophages, toxicity assays, and/or Tat-dependent β-galactosidase reporter assays. Bioinformatics analyses indicated that several host factors present in this study participate in canonical pathways and functional processes implicated in prior genome-wide studies. However, the genes presented in this study did not share identity with those found previously. Novel antiviral targets identified in this study should open new avenues for mechanistic investigation. © 2012, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.


Cheng F.,University of Sichuan | Cheng F.,Vanderbilt University | Cheng F.,Dana-Farber Cancer Institute | Cheng F.,Northeastern University | And 8 more authors.
PLoS Computational Biology | Year: 2016

Viruses require host cellular factors for successful replication. A comprehensive systems-level investigation of the virus-host interactome is critical for understanding the roles of host factors with the end goal of discovering new druggable antiviral targets. Gene-trap insertional mutagenesis is a high-throughput forward genetics approach to randomly disrupt (trap) host genes and discover host genes that are essential for viral replication, but not for host cell survival. In this study, we used libraries of randomly mutagenized cells to discover cellular genes that are essential for the replication of 10 distinct cytotoxic mammalian viruses, 1 gram-negative bacterium, and 5 toxins. We herein reported 712 candidate cellular genes, characterizing distinct topological network and evolutionary signatures, and occupying central hubs in the human interactome. Cell cycle phase-specific network analysis showed that host cell cycle programs played critical roles during viral replication (e.g. MYC and TAF4 regulating G0/1 phase). Moreover, the viral perturbation of host cellular networks reflected disease etiology in that host genes (e.g. CTCF, RHOA, and CDKN1B) identified were frequently essential and significantly associated with Mendelian and orphan diseases, or somatic mutations in cancer. Computational drug repositioning framework via incorporating drug-gene signatures from the Connectivity Map into the virus-host interactome identified 110 putative druggable antiviral targets and prioritized several existing drugs (e.g. ajmaline) that may be potential for antiviral indication (e.g. anti-Ebola). In summary, this work provides a powerful methodology with a tight integration of gene-trap insertional mutagenesis testing and systems biology to identify new antiviral targets and drugs for the development of broadly acting and targeted clinical antiviral therapeutics. © 2016 Public Library of Science. All rights reserved.


Friedrich B.M.,University of Texas Medical Branch | Dziuba N.,University of Texas Medical Branch | Li G.,University of Texas Medical Branch | Endsley M.A.,University of Texas Medical Branch | And 2 more authors.
Virus Research | Year: 2011

Human immunodeficiency virus type 1(HIV-1) infection is the leading cause of death worldwide in adults attributable to infectious diseases. Although the majority of infections are in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, HIV-1 is also a major health concern in most countries throughout the globe. While current antiretroviral treatments are generally effective, particularly in combination therapy, limitations exist due to drug resistance occurring among the drug classes. Traditionally, HIV-1 drugs have targeted viral proteins, which are mutable targets. As cellular genes mutate relatively infrequently, host proteins may prove to be more durable targets than viral proteins. HIV-1 replication is dependent upon cellular proteins that perform essential roles during the viral life cycle. Maraviroc is the first FDA-approved antiretroviral drug to target a cellular factor, HIV-1 coreceptor CCR5, and serves to intercept viral-host protein-protein interactions mediating entry. Recent large-scale siRNA and shRNA screens have revealed over 1000 candidate host factors that potentially support HIV-1 replication, and have implicated new pathways in the viral life cycle. These host proteins and cellular pathways may represent important targets for future therapeutic discoveries. This review discusses critical cellular factors that facilitate the successive steps in HIV-1 replication. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.


Murray J.L.,Zirus Inc | McDonald N.J.,Zirus Inc | Sheng J.,Vanderbilt University | Shaw M.W.,National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases | And 7 more authors.
Antiviral Chemistry and Chemotherapy | Year: 2012

Background: Host genes serving potential roles in virus replication may be exploited as novel antiviral targets. Methods: Small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated knockdown of host gene expression was used to validate candidate genes in screens against six unrelated viruses, most importantly influenza. A mouse model of influenza A virus infection was used to evaluate the efficacy of a candidate FDA-approved drug identified in the screening effort. Results: Several genes in the PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathway were found to support broad-spectrum viral replication in vitro by RNA interference. This led to the discovery that everolimus, an mTOR inhibitor, showed in vitro antiviral activity against cowpox, dengue type 2, influenza A, rhino- and respiratory syncytial viruses. In a lethal mouse infection model of influenza A (H1N1 and H5N1) virus infection, everolimus treatment (1 mg/ kg/day) significantly delayed death but could not prevent mortality. Fourteen days of treatment was more beneficial in delaying the time to death than treatment for seven days. Pathological findings in everolimus-treated mice showed reduced lung haemorrhage and lung weights in response to infection. Conclusions: These results provide proof of concept that cellular targets can be identified by gene knockout methods, and highlight the importance of the PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathway in supporting viral infections. © 2012 International Medical Press.


Friedrich B.M.,University of Texas Medical Branch | Murray J.L.,Zirus Inc. | Li G.,University of Texas Medical Branch | Sheng J.,Vanderbilt University | And 7 more authors.
Retrovirology | Year: 2011

Background: Gene trap insertional mutagenesis was used as a high-throughput approach to discover cellular genes participating in viral infection by screening libraries of cells selected for survival from lytic infection with a variety of viruses. Cells harboring a disrupted ADAM10 (A Disintegrin and Metalloprotease 10) allele survived reovirus infection, and subsequently ADAM10 was shown by RNA interference to be important for replication of HIV-1.Results: Silencing ADAM10 expression with small interfering RNA (siRNA) 48 hours before infection significantly inhibited HIV-1 replication in primary human monocyte-derived macrophages and in CD4+cell lines. In agreement, ADAM10 over-expression significantly increased HIV-1 replication. ADAM10 down-regulation did not inhibit viral reverse transcription, indicating that viral entry and uncoating are also independent of ADAM10 expression. Integration of HIV-1 cDNA was reduced in ADAM10 down-regulated cells; however, concomitant 2-LTR circle formation was not detected, suggesting that HIV-1 does not enter the nucleus. Further, ADAM10 silencing inhibited downstream reporter gene expression and viral protein translation. Interestingly, we found that while the metalloprotease domain of ADAM10 is not required for HIV-1 replication, ADAM15 and γ-secretase (which proteolytically release the extracellular and intracellular domains of ADAM10 from the plasma membrane, respectively) do support productive infection.Conclusions: We propose that ADAM10 facilitates replication at the level of nuclear trafficking. Collectively, our data support a model whereby ADAM10 is cleaved by ADAM15 and γ-secretase and that the ADAM10 intracellular domain directly facilitates HIV-1 nuclear trafficking. Thus, ADAM10 represents a novel cellular target class for development of antiretroviral drugs. © 2011 Friedrich et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Murray J.L.,Zirus Inc. | Sheng J.,Vanderbilt University | Rubin D.H.,Vanderbilt University
Molecular Biotechnology | Year: 2014

We have employed gene-trap insertional mutagenesis to identify candidate genes whose disruption confer phenotypic resistance to lytic infection, in independent studies using 12 distinct viruses and several different cell lines. Analysis of >2,000 virus-resistant clones revealed >1,000 candidate host genes, approximately 20 % of which were disrupted in clones surviving separate infections with 2-6 viruses. Interestingly, there were 83 instances in which the insertional mutagenesis vector disrupted transcripts encoding H/ACA-class and C/D-class small nucleolar RNAs (SNORAs and SNORDs, respectively). Of these, 79 SNORAs and SNORDs reside within introns of 29 genes (predominantly protein-coding), while 4 appear to be independent transcription units. siRNA studies targeting candidate SNORA/Ds provided independent confirmation of their roles in infection when tested against cowpox virus, Dengue Fever virus, influenza A virus, human rhinovirus 16, herpes simplex virus 2, or respiratory syncytial virus. Significantly, eight of the nine SNORA/Ds targeted with siRNAs enhanced cellular resistance to multiple viruses suggesting widespread involvement of SNORA/Ds in virus-host interactions and/or virus-induced cell death. © 2014 Springer Science+Business Media.


Patent
Zirus Inc. | Date: 2010-07-15

The present invention relates to nucleic acid sequences and cellular proteins encoded by these sequences that are involved in infection or are otherwise associated with the life cycle of one or more pathogens.


PubMed | Zirus Inc.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Antiviral chemistry & chemotherapy | Year: 2012

Host genes serving potential roles in virus replication may be exploited as novel antiviral targets.Small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated knockdown of host gene expression was used to validate candidate genes in screens against six unrelated viruses, most importantly influenza. A mouse model of influenza A virus infection was used to evaluate the efficacy of a candidate FDA-approved drug identified in the screening effort.Several genes in the PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathway were found to support broad-spectrum viral replication in vitro by RNA interference. This led to the discovery that everolimus, an mTOR inhibitor, showed in vitro antiviral activity against cowpox, dengue type 2, influenza A, rhino- and respiratory syncytial viruses. In a lethal mouse infection model of influenza A (H1N1 and H5N1) virus infection, everolimus treatment (1 mg/kg/day) significantly delayed death but could not prevent mortality. Fourteen days of treatment was more beneficial in delaying the time to death than treatment for seven days. Pathological findings in everolimus-treated mice showed reduced lung haemorrhage and lung weights in response to infection.These results provide proof of concept that cellular targets can be identified by gene knockout methods, and highlight the importance of the PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathway in supporting viral infections.


PubMed | University of Sichuan, Vanderbilt University, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and Zirus Incorporated
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PLoS computational biology | Year: 2016

Viruses require host cellular factors for successful replication. A comprehensive systems-level investigation of the virus-host interactome is critical for understanding the roles of host factors with the end goal of discovering new druggable antiviral targets. Gene-trap insertional mutagenesis is a high-throughput forward genetics approach to randomly disrupt (trap) host genes and discover host genes that are essential for viral replication, but not for host cell survival. In this study, we used libraries of randomly mutagenized cells to discover cellular genes that are essential for the replication of 10 distinct cytotoxic mammalian viruses, 1 gram-negative bacterium, and 5 toxins. We herein reported 712 candidate cellular genes, characterizing distinct topological network and evolutionary signatures, and occupying central hubs in the human interactome. Cell cycle phase-specific network analysis showed that host cell cycle programs played critical roles during viral replication (e.g. MYC and TAF4 regulating G0/1 phase). Moreover, the viral perturbation of host cellular networks reflected disease etiology in that host genes (e.g. CTCF, RHOA, and CDKN1B) identified were frequently essential and significantly associated with Mendelian and orphan diseases, or somatic mutations in cancer. Computational drug repositioning framework via incorporating drug-gene signatures from the Connectivity Map into the virus-host interactome identified 110 putative druggable antiviral targets and prioritized several existing drugs (e.g. ajmaline) that may be potential for antiviral indication (e.g. anti-Ebola). In summary, this work provides a powerful methodology with a tight integration of gene-trap insertional mutagenesis testing and systems biology to identify new antiviral targets and drugs for the development of broadly acting and targeted clinical antiviral therapeutics.

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