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February 23, 2018

Construction and characterization of bacterial artificial chromosomes harboring the full-length genome of a highly attenuated vaccinia virus LC16m8.

LC16m8 (m8), a highly attenuated vaccinia virus (VAC) strain, was developed as a smallpox vaccine, and its safety and immunogenicity have been confirmed. Here, we aimed to develop a system that recovers infectious m8 from a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) that retains the full-length viral genomic DNA (m8-BAC system). The infectious virus was successfully recovered from a VAC-BAC plasmid, named pLC16m8-BAC. Furthermore, the bacterial replicon-free virus was generated by intramolecular homologous recombination and was successfully recovered from a modified VAC-BAC plasmid, named pLC16m8.8S-BAC. Also, the growth of the recovered virus was indistinguishable from that of authentic m8. The full genome…

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February 5, 2018

Blood CXCR3+CD4 T cells are enriched in inducible replication competent HIV in aviremic antiretroviral therapy-treated individuals.

We recently demonstrated that lymph nodes (LNs) PD-1+/T follicular helper (Tfh) cells from antiretroviral therapy (ART)-treated HIV-infected individuals were enriched in cells containing replication competent virus. However, the distribution of cells containing inducible replication competent virus has been only partially elucidated in blood memory CD4 T-cell populations including the Tfh cell counterpart circulating in blood (cTfh). In this context, we have investigated the distribution of (1) total HIV-infected cells and (2) cells containing replication competent and infectious virus within various blood and LN memory CD4 T-cell populations of conventional antiretroviral therapy (cART)-treated HIV-infected individuals. In the present study, we show…

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February 1, 2018

Single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing comes of age: applications and utilities for medical diagnostics.

Short read massive parallel sequencing has emerged as a standard diagnostic tool in the medical setting. However, short read technologies have inherent limitations such as GC bias, difficulties mapping to repetitive elements, trouble discriminating paralogous sequences, and difficulties in phasing alleles. Long read single molecule sequencers resolve these obstacles. Moreover, they offer higher consensus accuracies and can detect epigenetic modifications from native DNA. The first commercially available long read single molecule platform was the RS system based on PacBio's single molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing technology, which has since evolved into their RSII and Sequel systems. Here we capsulize how SMRT…

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January 29, 2018

Streamlined ex vivo and in vivo genome editing in mouse embryos using recombinant adeno-associated viruses.

Recent advances using CRISPR-Cas9 approaches have dramatically enhanced the ease for genetic manipulation in rodents. Notwithstanding, the methods to deliver nucleic acids into pre-implantation embryos have hardly changed since the original description of mouse transgenesis more than 30 years ago. Here we report a novel strategy to generate genetically modified mice by transduction of CRISPR-Cas9 components into pre-implantation mouse embryos via recombinant adeno-associated viruses (rAAVs). Using this approach, we efficiently generated a variety of targeted mutations in explanted embryos, including indel events produced by non-homologous end joining and tailored mutations using homology-directed repair. We also achieved gene modification in vivo…

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January 1, 2018

Bioengineered AAV capsids with combined high human liver transduction in vivo and unique humoral seroreactivity.

Existing recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) serotypes for delivering in vivo gene therapy treatments for human liver diseases have not yielded combined high-level human hepatocyte transduction and favorable humoral neutralization properties in diverse patient groups. Yet, these combined properties are important for therapeutic efficacy. To bioengineer capsids that exhibit both unique seroreactivity profiles and functionally transduce human hepatocytes at therapeutically relevant levels, we performed multiplexed sequential directed evolution screens using diverse capsid libraries in both primary human hepatocytes in vivo and with pooled human sera from thousands of patients. AAV libraries were subjected to five rounds of in vivo selection in xenografted mice with…

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December 19, 2017

Long-read sequencing of the human cytomegalovirus transcriptome with the Pacific Biosciences RSII platform.

Long-read RNA sequencing allows for the precise characterization of full-length transcripts, which makes it an indispensable tool in transcriptomics. The human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) genome has been first sequenced in 1989 and although short-read sequencing studies have uncovered much of the complexity of its transcriptome, only few of its transcripts have been fully annotated. We hereby present a long-read RNA sequencing dataset of HCMV infected human lung fibroblast cells sequenced by the Pacific Biosciences RSII platform. Seven SMRT cells were sequenced using oligo(dT) primers to reverse transcribe poly(A)-selected RNA molecules and one library was prepared using random primers for the reverse…

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December 14, 2017

HIV-1 infection of primary CD4(+) T cells regulates the expression of specific HERV-K (HML-2) elements.

Endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) occupy extensive regions of the human genome. Although many of these retroviral elements have lost their ability to replicate, those whose insertion took place more recently, such as the HML-2 group of HERV-K elements, still retain intact open reading frames and the capacity to produce certain viral RNA and/or proteins. Transcription of these ERVs is, however, tightly regulated by dedicated epigenetic control mechanisms. Nonetheless, it has been reported that some pathologic states, such as viral infections and certain cancers, coincide with ERV expression suggesting transcriptional reawakening is possible. HML-2 elements are reportedly induced during HIV-1 infection, but…

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December 1, 2017

The Epstein-Barr virus miR-BHRF1 microRNAs regulate viral gene expression in cis.

The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) miR-BHRF1 microRNA (miRNA) cluster has been shown to facilitate B-cell transformation and promote the rapid growth of the resultant lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs). However, we find that expression of physiological levels of the miR-BHRF1 miRNAs in LCLs transformed with a miR-BHRF1 null mutant (?123) fails to increase their growth rate. We demonstrate that the pri-miR-BHRF1-2 and 1-3 stem-loops are present in the 3'UTR of transcripts encoding EBNA-LP and that excision of pre-miR-BHRF1-2 and 1-3 by Drosha destabilizes these mRNAs and reduces expression of the encoded protein. Therefore, mutational inactivation of pri-miR-BHRF1-2 and 1-3 in the ?123…

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December 1, 2017

Pathogenicity and whole genome sequence analysis of a Pseudorabies virus strain FJ-2012 isolated from Fujian, Southern China.

The outbreaks of pseudorabies have been frequently reported in Bartha-K61-vaccinated farms in China since 2011. To study the pathogenicity and evolution of the circulating pseudorabies viruses in Fujian Province, mainland China, we isolated and sequenced the whole genome of a wild-type pseudorabies virus strain named "FJ-2012." We then conducted a few downstream bioinformatics analyses including phylogenetic analysis and pathogenic analysis and used the virus to infect 6 pseudorabies virus-free piglets. FJ-2012-infected piglets developed symptoms like high body temperature and central nervous system disorders and had high mortality rate. In addition, we identified typical micropathological changes such as multiple gross lesions…

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November 27, 2017

Rodent papillomaviruses.

Preclinical infection model systems are extremely valuable tools to aid in our understanding of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) biology, disease progression, prevention, and treatments. In this context, rodent papillomaviruses and their respective infection models are useful tools but remain underutilized resources in the field of papillomavirus biology. Two rodent papillomaviruses, MnPV1, which infects the Mastomys species of multimammate rats, and MmuPV1, which infects laboratory mice, are currently the most studied rodent PVs. Both of these viruses cause malignancy in the skin and can provide attractive infection models to study the lesser understood cutaneous papillomaviruses that have been frequently associated with HPV-related…

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November 15, 2017

Archetype JC polyomavirus prevails in a rare case of JC polyomavirus nephropathy and in stable renal transplant recipients with JC polyomavirus viruria.

JC polyomavirus (JCPyV) is reactivated in approximately 20% of renal transplant recipients and it may rarely cause JCPyV-associated nephropathy (JCPyVAN). Whereas progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy of the brain is caused by rearranged neurotropic JCPyV, little is known about viral sequence variation in JCPyVAN due to the rarity of this condition.Using single-molecule real-time sequencing, characterization of full-length JCPyV genomes from urine and plasma of one JCPyVAN patient and twenty stable renal transplant recipients with JCPyV viruria was attempted. Sequence analysis of JCPyV strains was performed with the emphasis on the NCCR region, the major capsid protein gene VP1 and the large T…

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November 14, 2017

Heterogeneity of the Epstein-Barr virus major internal repeat reveals evolutionary mechanisms of EBV and a functional defect in the prototype EBV strain B95-8.

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a ubiquitous pathogen of humans that can cause several types of lymphoma and carcinoma. Like other herpesviruses, EBV has diversified both through co-evolution with its host, and genetic exchange between virus strains. Sequence analysis of the EBV genome is unusually challenging, because of the large number and length of repeat regions within the virus. Here we describe the sequence assembly and analysis of the large internal repeat of EBV (IR1 or BamW repeats) from over 70 strains.Diversity of the latency protein EBNA-LP resides predominantly within the exons downstream of IR1. The integrity of the putative BWRF1…

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November 8, 2017

A comparative study on the characterization of hepatitis B virus quasispecies by clone-based sequencing and third-generation sequencing.

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) has a high mutation rate due to the extremely high replication rate and the proofreading deficiency during reverse transcription. The generated variants with genetic heterogeneity are described as viral quasispecies (QS). Clone-based sequencing (CBS) is thought to be the 'gold standard' for assessing QS complexity and diversity of HBV, but an important issue about CBS is cost-effectiveness and laborious. In this study, we investigated the utility of the third-generation sequencing (TGS) DNA sequencing to characterize genetic heterogeneity of HBV QS and assessed the possible contribution of TGS technology in HBV QS studies. Parallel experiments including 3…

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November 1, 2017

Long-read sequencing of human cytomegalovirus transcriptome reveals RNA isoforms carrying distinct coding potentials.

The human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a ubiquitous, human pathogenic herpesvirus. The complete viral genome is transcriptionally active during infection; however, a large part of its transcriptome has yet to be annotated. In this work, we applied the amplified isoform sequencing technique from Pacific Biosciences to characterize the lytic transcriptome of HCMV strain Towne varS. We developed a pipeline for transcript annotation using long-read sequencing data. We identified 248 transcriptional start sites, 116 transcriptional termination sites and 80 splicing events. Using this information, we have annotated 291 previously undescribed or only partially annotated transcript isoforms, including eight novel antisense transcripts and…

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November 1, 2017

Novel chaperonins are prevalent in the virioplankton and demonstrate links to viral biology and ecology.

Chaperonins are protein-folding machinery found in all cellular life. Chaperonin genes have been documented within a few viruses, yet, surprisingly, analysis of metagenome sequence data indicated that chaperonin-carrying viruses are common and geographically widespread in marine ecosystems. Also unexpected was the discovery of viral chaperonin sequences related to thermosome proteins of archaea, indicating the presence of virioplankton populations infecting marine archaeal hosts. Virioplankton large subunit chaperonin sequences (GroELs) were divergent from bacterial sequences, indicating that viruses have carried this gene over long evolutionary time. Analysis of viral metagenome contigs indicated that: the order of large and small subunit genes was…

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