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#28922426   2017/09/18 Save this To Up

A DNA vaccine for Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever protects against disease and death in two lethal mouse models.

Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) is a tick-borne virus capable of causing a severe hemorrhagic fever disease in humans. There are currently no licensed vaccines to prevent CCHFV-associated disease. We developed a DNA vaccine expressing the M-segment glycoprotein precursor gene of CCHFV and assessed its immunogenicity and protective efficacy in two lethal mouse models of disease: type I interferon receptor knockout (IFNAR-/-) mice; and a novel transiently immune suppressed (IS) mouse model. Vaccination of mice by muscle electroporation of the M-segment DNA vaccine elicited strong antigen-specific humoral immune responses with neutralizing titers after three vaccinations in both IFNAR-/- and IS mouse models. To compare the protective efficacy of the vaccine in the two models, groups of vaccinated mice (7-10 per group) were intraperitoneally (IP) challenged with a lethal dose of CCHFV strain IbAr 10200. Weight loss was markedly reduced in CCHFV DNA-vaccinated mice as compared to controls. Furthermore, whereas all vector-control vaccinated mice succumbed to disease by day 5, the DNA vaccine protected >60% of the animals from lethal disease. Mice from both models developed comparable levels of antibodies, but the IS mice had a more balanced Th1/Th2 response to vaccination. There were no statistical differences in the protective efficacies of the vaccine in the two models. Our results provide the first comparison of these two mouse models for assessing a vaccine against CCHFV and offer supportive data indicating that a DNA vaccine expressing the glycoprotein genes of CCHFV elicits protective immunity against CCHFV.

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#28918638   2017/09/18 Save this To Up

A Rapid Blood Test to Determine the Active Status and Duration of Acute Viral Infection.

The ability to rapidly detect and diagnose acute viral infections is crucial for infectious disease control and management. Serology testing for the presence of virus-elicited antibodies in blood is one of the methods used commonly for clinical diagnosis of viral infections. However, standard serology-based tests have a significant limitation: they cannot easily distinguish active from past, historical infections. As a result, it is difficult to determine whether a patient is currently infected with a virus or not, and on an optimal course of action, based off of positive serology testing responses. Here we report a nanoparticle-enabled blood test that can help overcome this major challenge. The new test is based on the analysis of virus-elicited immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody present in the protein corona of a gold nanoparticle surface upon mixing the gold nanoparticles with blood sera. Studies conducted on mouse models of influenza A virus infection show that the test gives positive responses only in the presence of a recent acute viral infection, approximately between day 14 to day 21 following the infection, and becomes negative thereafter. When used together with the traditional serology testing, the nanoparticle test can determine clearly whether a positive serology response is due to a recent or historical viral infection. This new blood test can provide critical clinical information needed to optimize further treatment and/or to determine if further quarantining should be continued.

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#28889999   2017/09/11 Save this To Up

Humoral immune responses during asthma and influenza co-morbidity in mice.

Humoral immunity serve dual functions of direct pathogen neutralization and enhancement of leukocyte function. Antibody classes are determined by antigen triggers, and the resulting antibodies can contribute to disease pathogenesis and host defense. Although asthma and influenza are immunologically distinct diseases, since we have found that allergic asthma exacerbation promotes antiviral host responses to influenza A virus, we hypothesized that humoral immunity may contribute to allergic host protection during influenza. C57BL/6J mice sensitized and challenged with Aspergillus fumigatus (or not) were infected with pandemic influenza A/CA/04/2009 virus. Negative control groups included naïve mice, and mice with only 'asthma' or influenza. Concentrations of antibodies were quantified by ELISA, and in situ localization of IgA- and IgE-positive cells in the lungs was determined by immunohistochemistry. The number and phenotype of B cells in spleens and mediastinal lymph nodes were determined by flow cytometry at predetermined timepoints after virus infection until viral clearance. Mucosal and systemic antibodies remained elevated in mice with asthma and influenza with prominent production of IgE and IgA compared to influenza-only controls. B cell expansion was prominent in the mediastinal lymph nodes of allergic mice during influenza where most cells produced IgG1 and IgA. Although allergy-skewed B cell responses dominated in mice with allergic airways inflammation during influenza virus infection, virus-specific antibodies were also induced. Future studies are required to identify the mechanisms involved with B cell activation and function in allergic hosts facing respiratory viral infections.

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#28854233   2017/08/30 Save this To Up

Protective capacity of neutralizing and non-neutralizing antibodies against glycoprotein B of cytomegalovirus.

Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is an important, ubiquitous pathogen that causes severe clinical disease in immunocompromised individuals, such as organ transplant recipients and infants infected in utero. Antiviral chemotherapy remains problematic due to toxicity of the available compounds and the emergence of viruses resistant to available antiviral therapies. Antiviral antibodies could represent a valuable alternative strategy to limit the clinical consequences of viral disease in patients. The envelope glycoprotein B (gB) of HCMV is a major antigen for the induction of virus neutralizing antibodies. However, the role of anti-gB antibodies in the course of the infection in-vivo remains unknown. We have used a murine CMV (MCMV) model to generate and study a number of anti-gB monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) with differing virus-neutralizing capacities. The mAbs were found to bind to similar antigenic structures on MCMV gB that are represented in HCMV gB. When mAbs were used in immunodeficient RAG-/- hosts to limit an ongoing infection we observed a reduction in viral load both with mAbs having potent neutralizing capacity in-vitro as well as mAbs classified as non-neutralizing. In a therapeutic setting, neutralizing mAbs showed a greater capacity to reduce the viral burden compared to non-neutralizing antibodies. Efficacy was correlated with sustained concentration of virus neutralizing mAbs in-vivo rather than their in-vitro neutralizing capacity. Combinations of neutralizing mAbs further augmented the antiviral effect and were found to be as potent in protection as polyvalent serum from immune animals. Prophylactic administration of mAbs before infection was also protective and both neutralizing and non-neutralizing mAbs were equally effective in preventing lethal infection of immunodeficient mice. In summary, our data argue that therapeutic application of potently neutralizing mAbs against gB represent a strategy to modify the outcome of CMV infection in immunodeficient hosts. When present before infection, both neutralizing and non-neutralizing anti-gB exhibited protective capacity.

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#28851562   2017/08/30 Save this To Up

Viral load affects the immune response to HBV in mice with humanized immune system and liver.

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infects hepatocytes, but the mechanisms of the immune response against the virus, and how it affects disease progression, are unclear.

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#28850773   2017/08/29 Save this To Up

A Synthetic Biology approach for consistent production of plant-made recombinant polyclonal antibodies against snake venom toxins.

Antivenoms developed from the plasma of hyper-immunized animals are the only effective treatment available against snakebite envenomation but shortage of supply contributes to the high morbidity and mortality toll of this tropical disease. We describe a synthetic biology approach to affordable and cost-effective antivenom production based on plant-made recombinant polyclonal antibodies (termed pluribodies). The strategy takes advantage of virus superinfection exclusion to induce the formation of somatic expression mosaics in agroinfiltrated plants, which enables the expression of complex antibody repertoires in a highly reproducible manner. Pluribodies developed using toxin-binding genetic information captured from peripheral blood lymphocytes of hyper-immunized camels recapitulated the overall binding activity of the immune response. Furthermore, an improved plant-made antivenom (plantivenom) was formulated using an in vitro selected pluribody against Bothrops asper snake venom toxins, and has been shown to neutralize a wide range of toxin activities and provide protection against lethal venom doses in mice. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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#28845465   2017/08/28 Save this To Up

Comparison of a Micro-Neutralization Test with the Rapid Fluorescent Focus Inhibition Test for Measuring Rabies Virus Neutralizing Antibodies.

The rapid fluorescent focus inhibition test (RFFIT) is routinely used in the United States to measure rabies virus neutralizing antibodies (rVNA). RFFIT has a long history of reproducible and reliable results. The test has been modified over the years to use smaller volumes of reagents and samples, but requires a 50 μL minimum volume of test serum. To conduct pathogenesis studies, small laboratory animals such as mice are regularly tested for rVNA, but the minimum volume for a standard RFFIT may be impossible to obtain, particularly in scenarios of repeated sampling. To address this problem, a micro-neutralization test was developed previously. In the current study, the micro-neutralization test was compared to the RFFIT using 129 mouse serum samples from rabies vaccine studies. Using a cut-off value of 0.1 IU/mL, the sensitivity, specificity, and concordance of the micro-neutralization test were 100%, 97.5%, and 98%, respectively. The geometric mean titer of all samples above the cut-off was 2.0 IU/mL using RFFIT and 3.4 IU/mL using the micro-neutralization test, indicating that titers determined using the micro-neutralization test are not equivalent to RFFIT titers. Based on four rVNA-positive hamster serum samples, the intra-assay coefficient of variability was 24% and inter-assay coefficient of variability was 30.4 %. These results support continued use of the micro-neutralization test to determine rabies virus neutralizing antibody titers for low-volume serum samples.

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#28842265   2017/08/26 Save this To Up

Identification of broadly neutralizing monoclonal antibodies against Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus.

Despite the serious public health impact of Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF), the efficacy of antivirals targeting the causative agent, CCHF virus (CCHFV), remains debatable. Neutralizing monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) targeting the CCHFV glycoprotein Gc have been reported to protect mice against challenge with the prototype CCHFV strain, IbAr10200. However, due to extensive sequence diversity of CCHFV glycoproteins, it is unknown whether these MAbs neutralize other CCHFV strains. We initially used a CCHF virus-like particle (VLP) system to generate 11 VLP moieties, each possessing a glycoprotein from a genetically diverse CCHFV strain isolated in either Africa, Asia, the Middle East, or southeastern Europe. We used these VLPs in biosafety level 2 conditions to efficiently screen MAb cross-neutralization potency. Of the 16 MAbs tested, 3 (8A1, 11E7, and 30F7) demonstrated cross-neutralization activity with most CCHF VLPs, with 8A1 neutralizing all VLPs tested. Although binding studies suggest that none of the MAbs compete for the same epitope, combining 11E7, 30F7, or both 11E7 and 30F7 with 8A1 had no additive effect on increasing neutralization in this system. To confirm our findings from the VLP system, the 3 MAbs capable of strain cross-neutralization were confirmed to effectively neutralize 5 diverse CCHFV strains in vitro. Passaging CCHFV strains in the presence of sub-neutralizing concentrations of MAbs did not generate escape mutants resistant to subsequent neutralization. This study demonstrates the utility of the VLP system for screening neutralizing MAbs against multiple CCHFV strains, and provides the first evidence that a single MAb can effectively neutralize a number of diverse CCHFV strains in vitro, which may lead to development of future CCHF therapeutics.

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#28837840   2017/08/24 Save this To Up

Development of a recombinant yellow fever vector expressing a HIV clade C founder envelope gp120.

Development of a HIV-1 vaccine is a major global priority. The yellow fever virus (YFV) attenuated vaccine 17D is among the most effective of currently used vaccines. However, the stability of the YFV17D vector when carrying non-flavivirus genes has been problematic. We have constructed and expressed HIV-1 Env in YFV17D with either single transmembrane (STM) or double transmembrane (DTM) YFV E protein domains for the development of anti-HIV antibodies. Here we describe modifications of the YFV17D vector such that HIV-1 Env gp120 is expressed in up to 5 passages in Vero cells. Immunization with recombinant YFV17D vector prime followed by HIV-1 CH505 TF gp120 protein boosts were able to induce neutralizing antibodies for a HIV-1 tier 1 isolate in mice. This modified YFV vector may be a starting point for constructing HIV-1 vaccine candidate priming vectors.

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#28817198   2017/08/17 Save this To Up

Valuable antibody detection method for classifying hepatitis E virus genotypes.

Nucleotide-based methods are conventionally used to classify the hepatitis E virus (HEV) genotypes. A serological enzyme immunoassay (EIA) using open reading frame 3 (ORF3) C-terminal peptides was developed to conveniently and accurately classify and evaluate the genotypes of HEV. The sera of mice immunized with HEV genotype 1, 3, and 4 reacted highly specifically to the peptides of the corresponding genotypes. Most (84.2%) clinical sera infected with HEV genotype 4 were positive for anti-HEV antibodies when tested with the ORF3 peptides of genotype 4, but were negative for genotypes 1 and 3. Monkey and clinical serial sera infected with HEV reacted strongly to the homologous genotype ORF3 peptides. The indirect EIAs were more sensitive, with stronger reactivity, than commercial anti-HEV immunoglobulin G assays when serial sera from monkeys infected with HEV genotype 1 or 4 were tested. All our results indicate that the serological typing EIA assays described in this study are more effective and convenient for the classification of HEV genotypes than molecular approaches, and can be used to screen large numbers of serum samples and differentiate genotypes for the diagnosis of HEV infections.

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