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  • 1
    Keywords: CELLS ; EXPRESSION ; Germany ; IN-VIVO ; POPULATION ; PROTEIN ; PROTEINS ; INFECTION ; DOMAIN ; T cells ; T-CELLS ; ASSAY ; REPLICATION ; INFECTIONS ; IMMUNODEFICIENCY-VIRUS TYPE-1 ; GENE DELIVERY ; VIRIONS ; LENTIVIRAL VECTOR ; ALPHA-CATENIN ; function ; ENVELOPE GLYCOPROTEIN ; FUSION INHIBITOR T-20 ; LEUCINE-ZIPPER DOMAIN ; GP41
    Abstract: H9-T-cells do not support the replication of mutant HIV-1 encoding Env protein lacking its long cytoplasmic C-terminal domain (Env-CT). Here we describe the generation of a H9-T-cell population constitutively expressing the HIV-1 Env-CT protein domain anchored in the cellular membrane by it homologous membrane-spanning domain (TMD). We confirmed that the EnvTMD-CT protein was associated with cellular membranes, that its expression did not have any obvious cytotoxic effects on the cells and that it did not affect wild-type HIV-1 replication. However, as measured in both a single-round assay as well as in spreading infections, replication competence of mutant pNL-Tr712, lacking the Env-CT, was not restored in this H9T-cell population. This means that the Env-CT per se cannot transcomplement the replication block of HIV-1 virions encoding C-terminally truncated Env proteins and suggests that the Env-CT likely exerts its function only in the context of the complete Env protein
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 16700925
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  • 2
    Keywords: EXPRESSION ; RNA ; SIGNAL ; PARTICLES ; VECTORS ; foamy virus ; INFECTIVITY ; MURINE LEUKEMIA-VIRUS ; capsid assembly ; FUSION PROTEIN ; REVERSE TRANSCRIPTION ; C-TERMINUS ; Gag-Pol fusion protein ; Pol processing ; POLYPROTEIN ; retroviral morphogenesis
    Abstract: Background: Foamy viruses (FVs) unlike orthoretroviruses express Pol as a separate precursor protein and not as a Gag Pol fusion protein. A unique packaging strategy, involving recognition of briding viral RNA by both Pol precursor and Gag as well as potential Gag-Pol protein interactions, ensures Pol particle encapsidation. Results: Several Prototype FV (PFV) Gag-Pol fusion protein constructs were generated to examine whether PFV replication is compatible with an orthoretroviral-like Pol expression. During their analysis, non-particle-associated secreted Pol precursor protein was discovered in extracellular wild type PFV particle preparations of different origin, copurifying in simple virion enrichment protocols. Different analysis methods suggest that extracellular wild type PFV particles contain predominantly mature p85(PR-RT) and p40(IN) Pol subunits. Characterization of various PFV Gag Pol fusion constructs revealed that PFV Pol expression in an orthoretroviral manner is compatible with PFV replication as long as a proteolytic processing between Gag and Pol proteins is possible. PFV Gag-Pol translation by a HIV-1 like ribosomal frameshift signal resulted in production of replication-competent virions, although cell- and particle-associated Pol levels were reduced in comparison to wild type. In-frame fusion of PFV Gag and Pol ORFs led to increased cellular Pol levels, but particle incorporation was only marginally elevated. Unlike that reported for similar orthoretroviral constructs, a full-length in-frame PFV Gag-Pol fusion construct showed wildtype-like particle release and infectivity characteristics. In contrast, in-frame PFV Gag-Pol fusion with C-terminal Gag ORF truncations or non-removable Gag peptide addition to Pol displayed wildtype particle release, but reduced particle infectivity. PFV Gag-Pol precursor fusion proteins with inactivated protease were highly deficient in regular particle release, although coexpression of p71(Gag) resulted in a significant copackaging of these proteins. Conclusions: Non-particle associated PFV Pol appears to be naturally released from infected cells by a yet unknown mechanism. The absence of particle-associated Pol precursor suggests its rapid processing upon particle incorporation. Analysis of different PFV Gag-Pol fusion constructs demonstrates that orthoretroviral-like Pol expression is compatible with FV replication in principal as long as fusion protein processing is possible. Furthermore, unlike orthoretroviruses, PFV particle release and infectivity tolerate larger differences in relative cellular Gag/Pol levels
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 21843316
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  • 3
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: The non-pathogenic course of SIV infection in its natural host is characterized by robust viral replication in the absence of chronic immune activation and T cell proliferation. In contrast, acutely lethal enteropathic SIVsmm strain PBj induces a strong immune activation and causes a severe acute and lethal disease in pig-tailed macaques after cross-species transmission. One important pathogenicity factor of the PBj virus is the PBj-Nef protein, which contains a conserved diacidic motif and, unusually, an immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif (ITAM). RESULTS: Mutation of the diacidic motif in the Nef protein of the SIVsmmPBj abolishes the acute phenotype of this virus. In vitro, wild-type and mutant PBj (PBj-Nef202/203GG) viruses replicated to similar levels in macaque PBMCs, but PBj-Nef202/203GG no longer triggers ERK mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase pathway including an alteration of a Nef-associated Raf-1/ERK-2 multiprotein signaling complex. Moreover, stimulation of IL-2 and down-modulation of CD4 and CD28 were impaired in the mutant virus. Pig-tailed macaques infected with PBj-Nef202/203GG did not show enteropathic complications and lethality as observed with wild-type PBj virus, despite efficient replication of both viruses in vivo. Furthermore, PBj-Nef202/203GG infected animals revealed reduced T-cell activation in periphery lymphoid organs and no detectable induction of IL-2 and IL-6. CONCLUSIONS: In sum, we report here that mutation of the diacidic motif in the PBj-Nef protein abolishes disease progression in pig-tailed macaques despite efficient replication. These data suggest that alterations in the ability of a lentivirus to promote T cell activation and proliferation can have a dramatic impact on its pathogenic potential.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 21366921
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  • 4
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    Keywords: IN-VIVO ; GENE-EXPRESSION ; DENDRITIC CELLS ; HUMAN-IMMUNODEFICIENCY-VIRUS ; VIF PROTEIN ; CYTIDINE DEAMINASES ; EDITING ENZYME APOBEC3G ; ANTIRETROVIRAL ACTIVITY ; HIV-1 REVERSE TRANSCRIPTION ; RESTRICTION FACTORS
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: APOBEC3 (A3) proteins restrict viral replication by cytidine deamination of viral DNA genomes and impairing reverse transcription and integration. To escape this restriction, lentiviruses have evolved the viral infectivity factor (Vif), which binds A3 proteins and targets them for proteolytic degradation. In contrast, foamy viruses (FVs) encode Bet proteins that allow replication in the presence of A3, apparently by A3 binding and/or sequestration, thus preventing A3 packaging into virions and subsequent restriction. Due to a long-lasting FV-host coevolution, Bet proteins mainly counteract restriction by A3s from their cognate or highly related host species. RESULTS: Through bioinformatics, we identified conserved motifs in Bet, all localized in the bel2 exon. In line with the localization of these conserved motifs within bel2, this part of feline FV (FFV) Bet has been shown to be essential for feline A3 (feA3) inactivation and feA3 protein binding. To study the function of the Bet motifs in detail, we analyzed the ability of targeted deletion, substitution, and chimeric FFV-PFV (prototype FV) Bet mutants to physically bind and/or inactivate feA3. Binding of Bet to feA3Z2b is sensitive to mutations in the first three conserved motifs and N- and C-terminal deletions and substitutions across almost the complete bel2 coding sequence. In contrast, the Bel1 (also designated Tas) domain of Bet is dispensable for basal feA3Z2b inactivation and binding but mainly increases the steady state level of Bet. Studies with PFV Bel1 and full-length FFV Bel2 chimeras confirmed the importance of Bel2 for A3 inactivation indicating that Bel1 is dispensable for basal feA3Z2b inactivation and binding but increases Bet stability. Moreover, the bel1/tas exon may be required for expression of a fully functional Bet protein from a spliced transcript. CONCLUSIONS: We show that the Bel2 domain of FV Bet is essential for the inactivation of APOBEC3 cytidine deaminase restriction factors. The Bel1/Tas domain increases protein stability and can be exchanged by related sequence. Since feA3 binding and inactivation by Bet are highly correlated, the data support the view that FV Bet prevents A3-mediated restriction of viral replication by creating strong complexes with these proteins.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 23880220
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  • 6
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: Foamy viruses (FVs) of the Spumaretrovirinae subfamily are distinct retroviruses, with many features of their molecular biology and replication strategy clearly different from those of the Orthoretroviruses, such as human immunodeficiency, murine leukemia, and human T cell lymphotropic viruses. The FV Gag N-terminal region is responsible for capsid formation and particle budding via interaction with Env. However, the critical residues or motifs in this region and their functional interaction are currently ill-defined, especially in non-primate FVs. RESULTS: Mutagenesis of N-terminal Gag residues of feline FV (FFV) reveals key residues essential for either capsid assembly and/or viral budding via interaction with the FFV Env leader protein (Elp). In an in vitro Gag-Elp interaction screen, Gag mutations abolishing particle assembly also interfered with Elp binding, indicating that Gag assembly is a prerequisite for this highly specific interaction. Gradient sedimentation analyses of cytosolic proteins indicate that wild-type Gag is mostly assembled into virus capsids. Moreover, proteolytic processing of Gag correlates with capsid assembly and is mostly, if not completely, independent from particle budding. In addition, Gag processing correlates with the presence of packaging-competent FFV genomic RNA suggesting that Pol encapsidation via genomic RNA is a prerequisite for Gag processing. Though an appended heterogeneous myristoylation signal rescues Gag particle budding of mutants unable to form capsids or defective in interacting with Elp, it fails to generate infectious particles that co-package Pol, as evidenced by a lack of Gag processing. CONCLUSIONS: Changes in proteolytic Gag processing, intracellular capsid assembly, particle budding and infectivity of defined N-terminal Gag mutants highlight their essential, distinct and only partially overlapping roles during viral assembly and budding. Discussion of these findings will be based on a recent model developed for Gag-Elp interactions in prototype FV.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 27549192
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  • 7
    Abstract: BACKGROUND: Hosts are able to restrict viral replication to contain virus spread before adaptive immunity is fully initiated. Many viruses have acquired genes directly counteracting intrinsic restriction mechanisms. This phenomenon has led to a co-evolutionary signature for both the virus and host which often provides a barrier against interspecies transmission events. Through different mechanisms of action, but with similar consequences, spumaviral feline foamy virus (FFV) Bet and lentiviral feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) Vif counteract feline APOBEC3 (feA3) restriction factors that lead to hypermutation and degradation of retroviral DNA genomes. Here we examine the capacity of vif to substitute for bet function in a chimeric FFV to assess the transferability of anti-feA3 factors to allow viral replication. RESULTS: We show that vif can replace bet to yield replication-competent chimeric foamy viruses. An in vitro selection screen revealed that an engineered Bet-Vif fusion protein yields suboptimal protection against feA3. After multiple passages through feA3-expressing cells, however, variants with optimized replication competence emerged. In these variants, Vif was expressed independently from an N-terminal Bet moiety and was stably maintained. Experimental infection of immunocompetent domestic cats with one of the functional chimeras resulted in seroconversion against the FFV backbone and the heterologous FIV Vif protein, but virus could not be detected unambiguously by PCR. Inoculation with chimeric virus followed by wild-type FFV revealed that repeated administration of FVs allowed superinfections with enhanced antiviral antibody production and detection of low level viral genomes, indicating that chimeric virus did not induce protective immunity against wild-type FFV. CONCLUSIONS: Unrelated viral antagonists of feA3 cellular restriction factors can be exchanged in FFV, resulting in replication competence in vitro that was attenuated in vivo. Bet therefore may have additional functions other than A3 antagonism that are essential for successful in vivo replication. Immune reactivity was mounted against the heterologous Vif protein. We conclude that Vif-expressing FV vaccine vectors may be an attractive tool to prevent or modulate lentivirus infections with the potential option to induce immunity against additional lentivirus antigens.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 29769087
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  • 8
    Keywords: RECEPTOR ; CELLS ; IN-VITRO ; CELL ; Germany ; MICROSCOPY ; VITRO ; imaging ; screening ; TOOL ; VISUALIZATION ; GENE ; GENOME ; PROTEIN ; PROTEINS ; LINES ; TRANSDUCTION ; gene transfer ; GENE-TRANSFER ; DOMAIN ; CONTRAST ; BINDING ; CELL-LINES ; CYCLE ; GLYCOPROTEIN ; PARTICLES ; TARGET ; virus ; IDENTIFICATION ; VECTOR ; PLASMA ; MEMBRANE ; CELL-LINE ; LINE ; REPLICATION ; INFECTIVITY ; GAG PROTEIN ; cell lines ; MEMBRANES ; ORIGIN ; FEATURES ; DETERMINANTS ; assembly ; plasma membrane ; TERMINUS ; RANGE ; COEXPRESSION ; Lead ; Type ; FAK ; RED FLUORESCENT PROTEIN ; TAG
    Abstract: Background: The foamy virus (FV) replication cycle displays several unique features, which set them apart from orthoretroviruses. First, like other B/D type orthoretroviruses, FV capsids preassemble at the centrosome, but more similar to hepadnaviruses, FV budding is strictly dependent on cognate viral glycoprotein coexpression. Second, the unusually broad host range of FV is thought to be due to use of a very common entry receptor present on host cell plasma membranes, because all cell lines tested in vitro so far are permissive. Results: In order to take advantage of modern fluorescent microscopy techniques to study FV replication, we have created FV Gag proteins bearing a variety of protein tags and evaluated these for their ability to support various steps of FV replication. Addition of even small N-terminal HA-tags to FV Gag severely impaired FV particle release. For example, release was completely abrogated by an N-terminal autofluorescent protein (AFP) fusion, despite apparently normal intracellular capsid assembly. In contrast, C-terminal Gag-tags had only minor effects on particle assembly, egress and particle morphogenesis. The infectivity of C-terminal capsid-tagged FV vector particles was reduced up to 100-fold in comparison to wild type; however, infectivity was rescued by coexpression of wild type Gag and assembly of mixed particles. Specific dose-dependent binding of fluorescent FV particles to target cells was demonstrated in an Env-dependent manner, but not binding to target cell-extracted- or synthetic-lipids. Screening of target cells of various origins resulted in the identification of two cell lines, a human erythroid precursor- and a zebrafish- cell line, resistant to FV Env-mediated FV- and HIV-vector transduction. Conclusions: We have established functional, autofluorescent foamy viral particles as a valuable new tool to study FV host cell interactions using modern fluorescent imaging techniques. Furthermore, we succeeded for the first time in identifying two cell lines resistant to Prototype Foamy Virus Env-mediated gene transfer. Interestingly, both cell lines still displayed FV Env-dependent attachment of fluorescent retroviral particles, implying a post-binding block potentially due to lack of putative FV entry cofactors. These cell lines might ultimately lead to the identification of the currently unknown ubiquitous cellular entry receptor(s) of FVs
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 20478027
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