• Lactoferrin-Hexon Interactions Mediate CAR-Independent Adenovirus Infection of Human Respiratory Cells.

      Persson, B David; Lenman, Annasara; Frängsmyr, Lars; Schmid, Markus; Ahlm, Clas; Plückthun, Andreas; Jenssen, Håvard; Arnberg, Niklas; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (ASM, 2020-07-01)
      Virus entry into host cells is a complex process that is largely regulated by access to specific cellular receptors. Human adenoviruses (HAdVs) and many other viruses use cell adhesion molecules such as the coxsackievirus and adenovirus receptor (CAR) for attachment to and entry into target cells. These molecules are rarely expressed on the apical side of polarized epithelial cells, which raises the question of how adenoviruses-and other viruses that engage cell adhesion molecules-enter polarized cells from the apical side to initiate infection. We have previously shown that species C HAdVs utilize lactoferrin-a common innate immune component secreted to respiratory mucosa-for infection via unknown mechanisms. Using a series of biochemical, cellular, and molecular biology approaches, we mapped this effect to the proteolytically cleavable, positively charged, N-terminal 49 residues of human lactoferrin (hLF) known as human lactoferricin (hLfcin). Lactoferricin (Lfcin) binds to the hexon protein on the viral capsid and anchors the virus to an unknown receptor structure of target cells, resulting in infection. These findings suggest that HAdVs use distinct cell entry mechanisms at different stages of infection. To initiate infection, entry is likely to occur at the apical side of polarized epithelial cells, largely by means of hLF and hLfcin bridging HAdV capsids via hexons to as-yet-unknown receptors; when infection is established, progeny virions released from the basolateral side enter neighboring cells by means of hLF/hLfcin and CAR in parallel.IMPORTANCE Many viruses enter target cells using cell adhesion molecules as receptors. Paradoxically, these molecules are abundant on the lateral and basolateral side of intact, polarized, epithelial target cells, but absent on the apical side that must be penetrated by incoming viruses to initiate infection. Our study provides a model whereby viruses use different mechanisms to infect polarized epithelial cells depending on which side of the cell-apical or lateral/basolateral-is attacked. This study may also be useful to understand the biology of other viruses that use cell adhesion molecules as receptors.
    • Mesenchymal to epithelial transition driven by canine distemper virus infection of canine histiocytic sarcoma cells contributes to a reduced cell motility in vitro.

      Armando, Federico; Gambini, Matteo; Corradi, Attilio; Becker, Kathrin; Marek, Katarzyna; Pfankuche, Vanessa Maria; Mergani, Ahmed Elmonastir; Brogden, Graham; de Buhr, Nicole; Von Köckritz-Blickwede, Maren; et al. (Blackwell Publishing, 2020-07-06)
      Sarcomas especially of histiocytic origin often possess a poor prognosis and response to conventional therapies. Interestingly, tumours undergoing mesenchymal to epithelial transition (MET) are often associated with a favourable clinical outcome. This process is characterized by an increased expression of epithelial markers leading to a decreased invasion and metastatic rate. Based on the failure of conventional therapies, viral oncolysis might represent a promising alternative with canine distemper virus (CDV) as a possible candidate. This study hypothesizes that a CDV infection of canine histiocytic sarcoma cells (DH82 cells) triggers the MET process leading to a decreased cellular motility. Immunofluorescence and immunoblotting were used to investigate the expression of epithelial and mesenchymal markers followed by scratch assay and an invasion assay as functional confirmation. Furthermore, microarray data were analysed for genes associated with the MET process, invasion and angiogenesis. CDV-infected cells exhibited an increased expression of epithelial markers such as E-cadherin and cytokeratin 8 compared to controls, indicating a MET process. This was accompanied by a reduced cell motility and invasiveness. Summarized, these results suggest that CDV infection of DH82 cells triggers the MET process by an increased expression of epithelial markers resulting in a decreased cell motility in vitro.
    • The ATGL lipase cooperates with ABHD5 to mobilize lipids for hepatitis C virus assembly.

      Vieyres, Gabrielle; Reichert, Isabelle; Carpentier, Arnaud; Vondran, Florian W R; Pietschmann, Thomas; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (PLOS, 2020-06-15)
      Lipid droplets are essential cellular organelles for storage of fatty acids and triglycerides. The hepatitis C virus (HCV) translocates several of its proteins onto their surface and uses them for production of infectious progeny. We recently reported that the lipid droplet-associated α/β hydrolase domain-containing protein 5 (ABHD5/CGI-58) participates in HCV assembly by mobilizing lipid droplet-associated lipids. However, ABHD5 itself has no lipase activity and it remained unclear how ABHD5 mediates lipolysis critical for HCV assembly. Here, we identify adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) as ABHD5 effector and new host factor involved in the hepatic lipid droplet degradation as well as in HCV and lipoprotein morphogenesis. Modulation of ATGL protein expression and lipase activity controlled lipid droplet lipolysis and virus production. ABHD4 is a paralog of ABHD5 unable to activate ATGL or support HCV assembly and lipid droplet lipolysis. Grafting ABHD5 residues critical for activation of ATGL onto ABHD4 restored the interaction between lipase and co-lipase and bestowed the pro-viral and lipolytic functions onto the engineered protein. Congruently, mutation of the predicted ABHD5 protein interface to ATGL ablated ABHD5 functions in lipid droplet lipolysis and HCV assembly. Interestingly, minor alleles of ABHD5 and ATGL associated with neutral lipid storage diseases in human, are also impaired in lipid droplet lipolysis and their pro-viral functions. Collectively, these results show that ABHD5 cooperates with ATGL to mobilize triglycerides for HCV infectious virus production. Moreover, viral manipulation of lipid droplet homeostasis via the ABHD5-ATGL axis, akin to natural genetic variation in these proteins, emerges as a possible mechanism by which chronic HCV infection causes liver steatosis.
    • Identification of a Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus Cell Entry Inhibitor by Using a Novel Lentiviral Pseudotype System.

      Haid, Sibylle; Grethe, Christina; Bankwitz, Dorothea; Grunwald, Thomas; Pietschmann, Thomas; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (ASM, 2015-12-30)
      Lentiviral budding is governed by group-specific antigens (Gag proteins) and proceeds in the absence of cognate viral envelope proteins, which has been exploited to create pseudotypes incorporating envelope proteins from nonlentiviral families. Here, we report the generation of infectious lentiviral pseudoparticles incorporating human respiratory syncytial virus (hRSV) F protein alone (hRSV-Fpp) or carrying SH, G, and F proteins (hRSV-SH/G/Fpp). These particles recapitulate key infection steps of authentic hRSV particles, including utilization of glycosaminoglycans and low-pH-independent cell entry. Moreover, hRSV pseudoparticles (hRSVpp) can faithfully reproduce phenotypic resistance to a small-molecule fusion inhibitor in clinical development (BMS-433771) and a licensed therapeutic F protein-targeting antibody (palivizumab). Inoculation of several human cell lines from lung and liver revealed more than 30-fold differences in susceptibility to hRSVpp infection, suggesting differential expression of hRSV entry cofactors and/or restriction factors between these cell types. Moreover, we observed cell-type-dependent functional differences between hRSVpp carrying solely F protein or SH, G, and F proteins with regard to utilization of glycosaminoglycans. Using hRSVpp, we identified penta-O-galloyl-β-d-glucose (PGG) as a novel hRSV cell entry inhibitor. Moreover, we show that PGG also inhibits cell entry of hRSVpp carrying F proteins resistant to BMS-433771 or palivizumab. This work sheds new light on the mechanisms of hRSV cell entry, including possible strategies for antiviral intervention. Moreover, hRSVpp should prove valuable to dissect hRSV envelope protein functions, including the interaction with cell entry factors. Importance: Lentiviral pseudotypes are highly useful to specifically dissect the functions of viral and host factors in cell entry, which have been exploited for numerous viruses. Here, we successfully created hRSVpp and show that they faithfully recapitulate key characteristics of parental hRSV cell entry. Importantly, hRSVpp accurately mirror hRSV resistance to small-molecule fusion inhibitors and clinically approved therapeutic antibodies. Moreover, we observed highly different susceptibilities of cell lines to hRSVpp infection and also differences between hRSVpp types (with F protein alone or with SH, G, and F proteins) in regard to cell entry. This indicates differential expression of host factors determining hRSV cell entry between these cell lines and highlights the fact that the hRSVpp system is useful to explore the functional properties of hRSV envelope protein combinations. Therefore, this system will be highly useful to study hRSV cell entry and host factor usage and to explore antiviral strategies targeting hRSV cell entry.
    • Critical challenges and emerging opportunities in hepatitis C virus research in an era of potent antiviral therapy: Considerations for scientists and funding agencies.

      Bartenschlager, Ralf; Baumert, Thomas F; Bukh, Jens; Houghton, Michael; Lemon, Stanley M; Lindenbach, Brett D; Lohmann, Volker; Moradpour, Darius; Pietschmann, Thomas; Rice, Charles M; et al. (Elsevier, 2018-03-02)
      The development and clinical implementation of direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) has revolutionized the treatment of chronic hepatitis C. Infection with any hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotype can now be eliminated in more than 95% of patients with short courses of all-oral, well-tolerated drugs, even in those with advanced liver disease and liver transplant recipients. DAAs have proven so successful that some now consider HCV amenable to eradication, and continued research on the virus of little remaining medical relevance. However, given 400,000 HCV-related deaths annually important challenges remain, including identifying those who are infected, providing access to treatment and reducing its costs. Moreover, HCV infection rarely induces sterilizing immunity, and those who have been cured with DAAs remain at risk for reinfection. Thus, it is very unlikely that global eradication and elimination of the cancer risk associated with HCV infection can be achieved without a vaccine, yet research in that direction receives little attention. Further, over the past two decades HCV research has spearheaded numerous fundamental discoveries in the fields of molecular and cell biology, immunology and microbiology. It will continue to do so, given the unique opportunities afforded by the reagents and knowledge base that have been generated in the development and clinical application of DAAs. Considering these critical challenges and new opportunities, we conclude that funding for HCV research must be sustained.
    • Filovirus antiviral activity of cationic amphiphilic drugs is associated with lipophilicity and ability to induce phospholipidosis.

      Gunesch, Antonia P; Zapatero-Belinchon, Francisco J; Pinkert, Lukas; Steinmann, Eike; Manns, Michael P; Schneider, Gisbert; Pietschmann, Thomas; Brönstrup, Mark; von Hahn, Thomas; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany.; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (ASM, 2020-06-08)
      Several cationic amphiphilic drugs (CADs) have been found to inhibit cell entry of filoviruses and other enveloped viruses. Structurally unrelated CADs may have antiviral activity, yet the underlying common mechanism and structure-activity relationship are incompletely understood.We aimed to understand how widespread antiviral activity is among CADs and which structural and physico-chemical properties are linked to entry inhibition.We measured inhibition of Marburg virus pseudoparticle (MARVpp) cell entry by 45 heterogeneous and mostly FDA-approved CADs and cytotoxicity in EA.hy926 cells. We analysed correlation of antiviral activity with four chemical properties: pKa, ClogP, molecular weight and distance between the basic group and hydrophobic ring structures. Additionally, we quantified drug-induced phospholipidosis (DIPL) of a CAD subset by flow cytometry. Structurally similar compounds (derivatives) and those with similar chemical properties but unrelated structure (analogues) to strong inhibitors were obtained by two in silico similarity search approaches and tested for antiviral activity. Overall 11 out of 45 (24 %) CADs inhibited MARVpp by 40 % or more. The strongest antiviral compounds were dronedarone, triparanol and quinacrine. Structure-activity relationship studies revealed highly significant correlations between antiviral activity, hydrophobicity (ClogP>4), and DIPL. Moreover, pKa and intra-molecular distance between hydrophobic and hydrophilic moieties correlated with antiviral activity, but to a lesser extent. We also showed that in contrast to analogues, derivatives had similar antiviral activity as the seed compound dronedarone. Overall, one quarter of CADs inhibits MARVpp entry in vitro and antiviral activity of CADs mostly relies on their hydrophobicity, yet is promoted by the individual structure.
    • Labyrinthopeptins as virolytic inhibitors of respiratory syncytial virus cell entry.

      Blockus, Sebastian; Sake, Svenja M; Wetzke, Martin; Grethe, Christina; Graalmann, Theresa; Pils, Marina; Le Goffic, Ronan; Galloux, Marie; Prochnow, Hans; Rox, Katharina; et al. (Elsevier, 2020-03-18)
      Acute lower respiratory tract infections (ALRI) caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are associated with a severe disease burden among infants and elderly patients. Treatment options are limited. While numerous drug candidates with different viral targets are under development, the utility of RSV entry inhibitors is challenged by a low resistance barrier and by single mutations causing cross-resistance against a wide spectrum of fusion inhibitor chemotypes. We developed a cell-based screening assay for discovery of compounds inhibiting infection with primary RSV isolates. Using this system, we identified labyrinthopeptin A1 and A2 (Laby A1/A2), lantibiotics isolated from Actinomadura namibiensis, as effective RSV cell entry inhibitors with IC50s of 0.39 μM and 4.97 μM, respectively, and with favourable therapeutic index (>200 and > 20, respectively). Both molecules were active against multiple RSV strains including primary isolates and their antiviral activity against RSV was confirmed in primary human airway cells ex vivo and a murine model in vivo. Laby A1/A2 were antiviral in prophylactic and therapeutic treatment regimens and displayed synergistic activity when applied in combination with each other. Mechanistic studies showed that Laby A1/A2 exert virolytic activity likely by binding to phosphatidylethanolamine moieties within the viral membrane and by disrupting virus particle membrane integrity. Probably due to its specific mode of action, Laby A1/A2 antiviral activity was not affected by common resistance mutations to known RSV entry inhibitors. Taken together, Laby A1/A2 represent promising candidates for development as RSV inhibitors. Moreover, the cell-based screening system with primary RSV isolates described here should be useful to identify further antiviral agents.
    • Efficient acute and chronic infection of stem cell-derived hepatocytes by hepatitis C virus.

      Carpentier, Arnaud; Sheldon, Julie; Vondran, Florian W R; Brown, Richard Jp; Pietschmann, Thomas; TWINCORE, Zentrum für Experimentelle und Klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH, Feodor-Lynen-Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (BMJ Publishing Group, 2020-02-29)
      Transcriptional profiling revealed that HLCs constitutively express messenger RNA of RLRs, and members of the IFN pathway. Moreover, HLCs upregulated IFNs and canonical interferon-regulated genes (IRGs) upon transfection with the double-stranded RNA mimic poly(I:C). Infection of HLCs with Jc1-HCVcc produced only limited viral progeny. In contrast, infection with p100, a Jc1-derived virus population with enhanced replication fitness and partial resistance to IFN, resulted in robust yet transient viraemia. Viral titres declined concomitant with a peak of IRG induction. Addition of ruxolitinib, a JAK/STAT inhibitor, permitted chronic infection and raised p100 infectious virus titres to 1×105 FFU/mL. IRGs expression profiling in infected HLCs revealed a landscape of HCV-dependent transcriptional changes similar to HCV-infected primary human hepatocytes, but distinct from Huh-7.5 cells. Withdrawal of ruxolitinib restored innate immune responses and resulted in HCV clearance.
    • Extracellular Traps: An Ancient Weapon of Multiple Kingdoms.

      Neumann, Ariane; Brogden, Graham; von Köckritz-Blickwede, Maren; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (MDPI, 2020-02-18)
      The discovery, in 2004, of extracellular traps released by neutrophils has extended our understanding of the mode of action of various innate immune cells. This fascinating discovery demonstrated the extracellular trapping and killing of various pathogens by neutrophils. During the last decade, evidence has accumulated showing that extracellular traps play a crucial role in the defence mechanisms of various cell types present in vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants. The aim of this review is to summarise the relevant literature on the evolutionary history of extracellular traps used as a weapon in various kingdoms of life.
    • Hepatitis E virus replication and interferon responses in human placental cells.

      Knegendorf, Leonard; Drave, Svenja A; Dao Thi, Viet Loan; Debing, Yannick; Brown, Richard J P; Vondran, Florian W R; Resner, Kathrin; Friesland, Martina; Khera, Tanvi; Engelmann, Michael; et al. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2018-01-01)
      Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a member of the genus Orthohepevirus in the family Hepeviridae and the causative agent of hepatitis E in humans. HEV is a major health problem in developing countries, causing mortality rates up to 25% in pregnant women. However, these cases are mainly reported for HEV genotype (gt)1, while gt3 infections are usually associated with subclinical courses of disease. The pathogenic mechanisms of adverse maternal and fetal outcome during pregnancy in HEV-infected pregnant women remain elusive. In this study, we observed that HEV is capable of completing the full viral life cycle in placental-derived cells (JEG-3). Following transfection of JEG-3 cells, HEV replication of both HEV gts could be observed. Furthermore, determination of extracellular and intracellular viral capsid levels, infectivity, and biophysical properties revealed production of HEV infectious particles with similar characteristics as in liver-derived cells. Viral entry was analyzed by infection of target cells and detection of either viral RNA or staining for viral capsid protein by immunofluorescence. HEV gt1 and gt3 were efficiently inhibited by ribavirin in placental as well as in human hepatoma cells. In contrast, interferon-α sensitivity was lower in the placental cells compared to liver cells for gt1 but not gt3 HEV. Simultaneous determination of interferon-stimulated gene expression levels demonstrated an efficient HEV-dependent restriction in JEG-3. Conclusion: We showed differential tissue-specific host responses to HEV genotypes, adding to our understanding of the mechanisms contributing to fatal outcomes of HEV infections during pregnancy. Using this cell-culture system, new therapeutic options for HEV during pregnancy can be identified and evaluated. (Hepatology Communications 2018;2:173-187).
    • Robust hepatitis E virus infection and transcriptional response in human hepatocytes.

      Todt, Daniel; Friesland, Martina; Moeller, Nora; Praditya, Dimas; Kinast, Volker; Brüggemann, Yannick; Knegendorf, Leonard; Burkard, Thomas; Steinmann, Joerg; Burm, Rani; et al. (National Academy of Sciences, 2020-01-02)
      Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is the causative agent of hepatitis E in humans and the leading cause for acute viral hepatitis worldwide. The virus is classified as a member of the genus Orthohepevirus A within the Hepeviridae family. Due to the absence of a robust cell culture model for HEV infection, the analysis of the viral life cycle, the development of effective antivirals and a vaccine is severely limited. In this study, we established a protocol based on the HEV genotype 3 p6 (Kernow C-1) and the human hepatoma cell lines HepG2 and HepG2/C3A with different media conditions to produce intracellular HEV cell culture-derived particles (HEVcc) with viral titers between 105 and 106 FFU/mL. Viral titers could be further enhanced by an HEV variant harboring a mutation in the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. These HEVcc particles were characterized in density gradients and allowed the trans-complementation of subgenomic reporter HEV replicons. In addition, in vitro produced intracellular-derived particles were infectious in liver-humanized mice with high RNA copy numbers detectable in serum and feces. Efficient infection of primary human and swine hepatocytes using the developed protocol could be observed and was inhibited by ribavirin. Finally, RNA sequencing studies of HEV-infected primary human hepatocytes demonstrated a temporally structured transcriptional defense response. In conclusion, this robust cell culture model of HEV infection provides a powerful tool for studying viral-host interactions that should facilitate the discovery of antiviral drugs for this important zoonotic pathogen.
    • Hepatitis C Virus Entry: Protein Interactions and Fusion Determinants Governing Productive Hepatocyte Invasion.

      Gerold, Gisa; Moeller, Rebecca; Pietschmann, Thomas; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 2019-08-19)
      Hepatitis C virus (HCV) entry is among the best-studied uptake processes for human pathogenic viruses. Uptake follows a spatially and temporally tightly controlled program. Numerous host factors including proteins, lipids, and glycans promote productive uptake of HCV particles into human liver cells. The virus initially attaches to surface proteoglycans, lipid receptors such as the scavenger receptor BI (SR-BI), and to the tetraspanin CD81. After lateral translocation of virions to tight junctions, claudin-1 (CLDN1) and occludin (OCLN) are essential for entry. Clathrin-mediated endocytosis engulfs HCV particles, which fuse with endosomal membranes after pH drop. Uncoating of the viral RNA genome in the cytoplasm completes the entry process. Here we systematically review and classify HCV entry factors by their mechanistic role, relevance, and level of evidence. Finally, we report on more recent knowledge on determinants of membrane fusion and close with an outlook on future implications of HCV entry research.
    • No Evidence of Mosquito Involvement in the Transmission of Equine Hepacivirus (Flaviviridae) in an Epidemiological Survey of Austrian Horses

      Badenhorst, Marcha; de Heus, Phebe; Auer, Angelika; Rümenapf, Till; Tegtmeyer, Birthe; Kolodziejek, Jolanta; Nowotny, Norbert; Steinmann, Eike; Cavalleri, Jessika M.V.; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (MPDI, 2019-11-01)
      Prevalence studies have demonstrated a global distribution of equine hepacivirus (EqHV), a member of the family Flaviviridae. However, apart from a single case of vertical transmission, natural routes of EqHV transmission remain elusive. Many known flaviviruses are horizontally transmitted between hematophagous arthropods and vertebrate hosts. This study represents the first investigation of potential EqHV transmission by mosquitoes. More than 5000 mosquitoes were collected across Austria and analyzed for EqHV ribonucleic acid (RNA) by reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). Concurrently, 386 serum samples from horses in eastern Austria were analyzed for EqHV-specific antibodies by luciferase immunoprecipitation system (LIPS) and for EqHV RNA by RT-qPCR. Additionally, liver-specific biochemistry parameters were compared between EqHV RNA-positive horses and EqHV RNA-negative horses. Phylogenetic analysis was conducted in comparison to previously published sequences from various origins. No EqHV RNA was detected in mosquito pools. Serum samples yielded an EqHV antibody prevalence of 45.9% (177/386) and RNA prevalence of 4.15% (16/386). EqHV RNA-positive horses had significantly higher glutamate dehydrogenase (GLDH) levels (p = 0.013) than control horses. Phylogenetic analysis showed high similarity between nucleotide sequences of EqHV in Austrian horses and EqHV circulating in other regions. Despite frequently detected evidence of EqHV infection in Austrian horses, no viral RNA was found in mosquitoes. It is therefore unlikely that mosquitoes are vectors of this flavivirus.
    • Labyrinthopeptins exert broad-spectrum antiviral activity through lipid-binding-mediated virolysis.

      Prochnow, Hans; Rox, Katharina; Birudukota, N V Suryanarayana; Weichert, Loreen; Hotop, Sven-Kevin; Klahn, Philipp; Mohr, Kathrin; Franz, Sergej; Banda, Dominic H; Blockus, Sebastian; et al. (ASM, 2019-10-30)
      To counteract the serious health threat posed by known and novel viral pathogens, drugs that target a variety of viruses through a common mechanism have attracted recent attention due to their potential in treating (re-)emerging infections, for which direct acting antivirals are not available. We found that labyrinthopeptins A1 and A2, the prototype congeners of carbacyclic lanthipeptides, inhibit the proliferation of diverse enveloped viruses, including Dengue virus, Zika virus, West Nile virus, Hepatitis C virus, Chikungunya virus, Karposi's Sarcoma-associated Herpes virus, Cytomegalovirus, and Herpes Simplex virus, in the low μM to nM range. Mechanistic studies on viral particles revealed that labyrinthopeptins induce a virolytic effect through binding to the viral membrane lipid phosphatidylethanolamine (PE). These effects are enhanced by a combined equimolar application of both labyrinthopeptins, and a clear synergism was observed across a concentration range corresponding to IC10-IC90 values of the compounds. Time-resolved experiments with large unilamellar vesicles (LUVs) reveal that membrane lipid raft compositions (PC/PE/Chol/SM (17:10:33:40)) are particularly sensitive to labyrinthopeptins compared to PC/PE (90:10) LUVs, even though the overall PE-amount remains constant. Labyrinthopeptins exhibited low cytotoxicity and had favorable pharmacokinetic properties in mice (t1/2= 10.0 h), which designates them as promising antiviral compounds acting by an unusual viral lipid targeting mechanism.Importance For many viral infections, current treatment options are insufficient. Because the development of each antiviral drug is time-consuming and expensive, the prospect of finding broad-spectrum antivirals that can fight multiple, diverse viruses - well-known as well as (re-)emerging species - has gained attention, especially for the treatment of viral co-infections. While most known broad spectrum agents address processes in the host cell, we found that targeting lipids of the free virus outside the host cell with the natural products labyrinthopeptin A1 and A2 is a viable strategy to inhibit the proliferation of a broad range of viruses from different families, including Chikungunya virus, Dengue virus, Zika virus, Karposi's Sarcoma-associated Herpes virus, or Cytomegalovirus. Labyrinthopeptins bind to viral phosphatidylethanolamine and induce virolysis without exerting cytotoxicity to host cells. This represents a novel and unusual mechanism to tackle medically relevant viral infections.
    • Biotechnological Potential of Bacteria Isolated from the Sea Cucumber and from Lampung, Indonesia.

      Wibowo, Joko T; Kellermann, Matthias Y; Versluis, Dennis; Putra, Masteria Y; Murniasih, Tutik; Mohr, Kathrin I; Wink, Joachim; Engelmann, Michael; Praditya, Dimas F; Steinmann, Eike; et al. (MPDI, 2019-11-08)
      In order to minimize re-discovery of already known anti-infective compounds, we focused our screening approach on understudied, almost untapped marine environments including marine invertebrates and their associated bacteria. Therefore, two sea cucumber species, Holothuria leucospilota and Stichopus vastus, were collected from Lampung (Indonesia), and 127 bacterial strains were identified by partial 16S rRNA-gene sequencing analysis and compared with the NCBI database. In addition, the overall bacterial diversity from tissue samples of the sea cucumbers H. leucospilota and S. vastus was analyzed using the cultivation-independent Illumina MiSEQ analysis. Selected bacterial isolates were grown to high densities and the extracted biomass was tested against a selection of bacteria and fungi as well as the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Identification of putative bioactive bacterial-derived compounds were performed by analyzing the accurate mass of the precursor/parent ions (MS1) as well as product/daughter ions (MS2) using high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) analysis of all active fractions. With this attempt we were able to identify 23 putatively known and two previously unidentified precursor ions. Moreover, through 16S rRNA-gene sequencing we were able to identify putatively novel bacterial species from the phyla Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria and also Firmicutes. Our findings suggest that sea cucumbers like H. leucospilota and S. vastus are promising sources for the isolation of novel bacterial species that produce compounds with potentially high biotechnological potential.
    • Yellow Fever: Integrating Current Knowledge with Technological Innovations to Identify Strategies for Controlling a Re-Emerging Virus.

      Kleinert, Robin D V; Montoya-Diaz, Eduardo; Khera, Tanvi; Welsch, Kathrin; Tegtmeyer, Birthe; Hoehl, Sebastian; Ciesek, Sandra; Brown, Richard J P; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (MPDI, 2019-10-17)
      Yellow fever virus (YFV) represents a re-emerging zoonotic pathogen, transmitted by mosquito vectors to humans from primate reservoirs. Sporadic outbreaks of YFV occur in endemic tropical regions, causing a viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) associated with high mortality rates. Despite a highly effective vaccine, no antiviral treatments currently exist. Therefore, YFV represents a neglected tropical disease and is chronically understudied, with many aspects of YFV biology incompletely defined including host range, host-virus interactions and correlates of host immunity and pathogenicity. In this article, we review the current state of YFV research, focusing on the viral lifecycle, host responses to infection, species tropism and the success and associated limitations of the YFV-17D vaccine. In addition, we highlight the current lack of available treatments and use publicly available sequence and structural data to assess global patterns of YFV sequence diversity and identify potential drug targets. Finally, we discuss how technological advances, including real-time epidemiological monitoring of outbreaks using next-generation sequencing and CRISPR/Cas9 modification of vector species, could be utilized in future battles against this re-emerging pathogen which continues to cause devastating disease
    • Characterization of Equine Parvovirus in Thoroughbred Breeding Horses from Germany.

      Meister, Toni Luise; Tegtmeyer, Birthe; Brüggemann, Yannick; Sieme, Harald; Feige, Karsten; Todt, Daniel; Stang, Alexander; Cavalleri, Jessika-M V; Steinmann, Eike; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (MPDI, 2019-10-18)
    • Synthesis of 4′/5′-Spirocyclopropanated Uridine and d -Xylouridine Derivatives and Their Activity against the Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus

      Köllmann, Christoph; Wiechert, Svenja M.; Jones, Peter G.; Pietschmann, Thomas; Werz, Daniel B.; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (American Chemical Society, 2019-09-06)
    • Chronic Hepatitis E Virus Infection during Lymphoplasmacytic Lymphoma and Ibrutinib Treatment.

      Schlevogt, Bernhard; Kinast, Volker; Reusch, Julia; Kerkhoff, Andrea; Praditya, Dimas; Todt, Daniel; Schmidt, Hartmut H; Steinmann, Eike; Behrendt, Patrick; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (MPDI, 2019-08-22)
      Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is an increasingly recognised pathogen, affecting several hundred thousand individuals in western countries each year. Importantly, the majority of immunocompromised individuals are not able to clear HEV but develop a chronic course of infection. In the case of lymphoma, which is an inherent immunosuppressive disease per se, chemotherapy can even further exacerbate the immunosuppressive status. As the mechanism of HEV chronification is barely understood, it is important to gain knowledge about the influence of chemotherapeutic drugs on the HEV replication cycle to guide rational clinical management of HEV infection in such patients. In this case report, a 70 year old man was diagnosed with lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma. As we observed the occurrence of chronic HEV after treatment with the Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor ibrutinib in vivo, we investigated the influence of BTK signaling and ibrutinib treatment in the HEV replication cycle in vitro. First, we detected an HEV-induced mobilisation of BTK in human liver cells during HEV replication. A moderate antiviral effect against HEV replicating isolates including genotypes 1 and 3 was observed, suggesting that ibrutinib did not support HEV replication in a direct manner. Combinatory treatments of ibrutinib with ribavirin indicated that ibrutinib did not influence the antiviral effect of ribavirin. Taken together, chemotherapy targeting cellular factors for the treatment of lymphomas may be a neglected risk factor for the chronification of HEV. For ibrutinib, despite the upregulation of its target BTK during HEV replication, we observed neither a proviral effect on HEV replication nor an influence on the antiviral effect of ribavirin, suggesting that the chronification of HEV may be favoured by its immunosuppressive effect.
    • Chronic equine hepacivirus infection in an adult gelding with severe hepatopathy.

      Tegtmeyer, Birthe; Echelmeyer, Julia; Pfankuche, Vanessa M; Puff, Christina; Todt, Daniel; Fischer, Nicole; Durham, Andy; Feige, Karsten; Baumgärtner, Wolfgang; Steinmann, Eike; et al. (Wiley Open Access, 2019-01-01)
      Background: Equine hepacivirus (EqHV) in equids represents the closest homologue to hepatitis C virus(HCV) infecting humans. A majority of HCV infected patients develop a chronic course of infection leading toliver fibrosis, cirrhosis and liver failure. However, in horses mostly transient mild subclinical infections arereported for EqHV to date. Objectives: EqHV can be involved in chronic liver diseases of horses. Methods:Biochemical parameters in serum samples were measured. Viral load was determined using qPCR. Next gener-ation sequencing (NGS) of serum was performed. Liver tissue was stained with haematoxylin and eosin andanalysed for viral RNA with fluorescentin situ-hybridization. Results: The horse showed symptoms of severehepatopathy and was chronically infected with EqHV. Viral RNA was detectable in the liver during disease.To rule out other infectious agents NGS was performed and showed the highest abundance for EqHV. Theidentified virus sequence was similar to other circulating equine hepaciviruses. Conclusions: EqHV can be asso-ciated with liver disease in horses. Whether it causes the disease or contributes in a multifactorial mannerneeds further investigation