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Changes in the chikungunya virus E1 glycoprotein domain II and hinge influence E2 conformation, infectivity, and virus-receptor interactions

Thannickal, Sara A; Battini, Leandro; Spector, Sophie N; Noval, Maria G; Álvarez, Diego E; Stapleford, Kenneth A
In a previous study to understand how the chikungunya virus (CHIKV) E1 glycoprotein β-strand c functions, we identified several attenuating variants at E1 residue V80 and the emergence of second-site mutations in the fusion loop (E1-M88L) and hinge region (E1-N20Y) with the V80 variants in vivo. The emergence of these mutations led us to question how changes in E1 may contribute to CHIKV infection at the molecular level. Here, we use molecular dynamics to understand how changes in the E1 glycoprotein may influence the CHIKV glycoprotein E1-E2 complex. We found that E1 domain II variants lead to E2 conformational changes, allowing us to hypothesize that emerging variants E1-M88L and E1-N20Y could also change E2 conformation and function. We characterized CHIKV E1-M88L and E1-N20Y in vitro and in vivo to understand how these regions of the E1 glycoprotein contribute to host-specific infection. We found that CHIKV E1-N20Y enhanced infectivity in mosquito cells, while the CHIKV E1-M88L variant enhanced infectivity in both BHK-21 and C6/36 cells and led to changes in viral cholesterol-dependence. Moreover, we found that E1-M88L and E1-N20Y changed E2 conformation, heparin binding, and interactions with the receptor Mxra8. Interestingly, the CHIKV E1-M88L variant increased replication in Mxra8-deficient mice compared to WT CHIKV, yet was attenuated in mouse fibroblasts, suggesting that residue E1-M88 may function in a cell-type-dependent entry. Taken together, these studies show that key residues in the CHIKV E1 domain II and hinge region function through changes in E1-E2 dynamics to facilitate cell- and host-dependent entry.IMPORTANCEArboviruses are significant global public health threats, and their continued emergence around the world highlights the need to understand how these viruses replicate at the molecular level. The alphavirus glycoproteins are critical for virus entry in mosquitoes and mammals, yet how these proteins function is not completely understood. Therefore, it is critical to dissect how distinct glycoprotein domains function in vitro and in vivo to address these gaps in our knowledge. Here, we show that changes in the CHIKV E1 domain II and hinge alter E2 conformations leading to changes in virus-receptor and -glycosaminoglycan interactions and cell-specific infection. These results highlight that adaptive changes in E1 can have a major effect on virus attachment and entry, furthering our knowledge of how alphaviruses infect mammals and insects.
PMID: 38842335
ISSN: 1098-5514
CID: 5665592

The REEP5/TRAM1 complex binds SARS-CoV-2 NSP3 and promotes virus replication

Li, Jie; Gui, Qi; Liang, Feng-Xia; Sall, Joseph; Zhang, Qingyue; Duan, Yatong; Dhabaria, Avantika; Askenazi, Manor; Ueberheide, Beatrix; Stapleford, Kenneth A; Pagano, Michele
Generation of virus-host protein-protein interactions (PPIs) maps may provide clues to uncover SARS-CoV-2-hijacked cellular processes. However, these PPIs maps were created by expressing each viral protein singularly, which does not reflect the life situation in which certain viral proteins synergistically interact with host proteins. Our results reveal the host-viral protein-protein interactome of SARS-CoV-2 NSP3, NSP4, and NSP6 expressed individually or in combination. Furthermore, REEP5/TRAM1 complex interacts with NSP3 at ROs and promotes viral replication. The significance of our research is identifying virus-host interactions that may be targeted for therapeutic intervention.
PMID: 37768083
ISSN: 1098-5514
CID: 5614142

SARS-CoV-2 infection triggers pro-atherogenic inflammatory responses in human coronary vessels

Eberhardt, Natalia; Noval, Maria Gabriela; Kaur, Ravneet; Amadori, Letizia; Gildea, Michael; Sajja, Swathy; Das, Dayasagar; Cilhoroz, Burak; Stewart, O'Jay; Fernandez, Dawn M; Shamailova, Roza; Guillen, Andrea Vasquez; Jangra, Sonia; Schotsaert, Michael; Newman, Jonathan D; Faries, Peter; Maldonado, Thomas; Rockman, Caron; Rapkiewicz, Amy; Stapleford, Kenneth A; Narula, Navneet; Moore, Kathryn J; Giannarelli, Chiara
Patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) present increased risk for ischemic cardiovascular complications up to 1 year after infection. Although the systemic inflammatory response to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection likely contributes to this increased cardiovascular risk, whether SARS-CoV-2 directly infects the coronary vasculature and attendant atherosclerotic plaques remains unknown. Here we report that SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA is detectable and replicates in coronary lesions taken at autopsy from severe COVID-19 cases. SARS-CoV-2 targeted plaque macrophages and exhibited a stronger tropism for arterial lesions than adjacent perivascular fat, correlating with macrophage infiltration levels. SARS-CoV-2 entry was increased in cholesterol-loaded primary macrophages and dependent, in part, on neuropilin-1. SARS-CoV-2 induced a robust inflammatory response in cultured macrophages and human atherosclerotic vascular explants with secretion of cytokines known to trigger cardiovascular events. Our data establish that SARS-CoV-2 infects coronary vessels, inducing plaque inflammation that could trigger acute cardiovascular complications and increase the long-term cardiovascular risk.
PMID: 38076343
ISSN: 2731-0590
CID: 5589542

The La Crosse virus class II fusion glycoprotein ij loop contributes to infectivity and replication in vitro and in vivo

Thannickal, Sara A; Spector, Sophie N; Stapleford, Kenneth A
Arthropod-borne viruses (arboviruses) are an emerging and evolving global public health threat, with limited antiviral treatments or vaccines available. La Crosse virus (LACV) from the Bunyavirales order is responsible for pediatric encephalitis cases in the United States, yet little is known about the infectivity of LACV. Given the structural similarities between class II fusion glycoproteins of LACV and chikungunya virus (CHIKV), an alphavirus from the Togaviridae family, we hypothesized that LACV would share similar entry mechanisms with CHIKV. To test this hypothesis, we performed cholesterol-depletion and repletion assays and used cholesterol-modulating compounds to study LACV entry and replication. We found that LACV entry was cholesterol dependent, while replication was less affected by cholesterol manipulation. In addition, we generated single-point mutants in the LACV Gc ij loop that corresponded to known CHIKV residues important for virus entry. We found that a conserved histidine and alanine residue in the Gc ij loop impaired virus infectivity and attenuated LACV replication in vitro and in vivo. Finally, we took an evolution-based approach to explore how the LACV glycoprotein evolves in mosquitoes and mice. We found multiple variants that cluster in the Gc glycoprotein head domain, providing evidence for the Gc glycoprotein as a contributor to LACV adaptation. Together, these results begin to characterize the mechanisms of LACV infectivity and how the LACV glycoprotein contributes to replication and pathogenesis. IMPORTANCE Vector-borne viruses are significant health threats that lead to devastating disease worldwide. The emergence of arboviruses, in addition to the lack of effective antivirals or vaccines, highlights the need to study how arboviruses replicate at the molecular level. One potential antiviral target is the class II fusion glycoprotein. Alphaviruses, flaviviruses, and bunyaviruses encode a class II fusion glycoprotein that contains strong structural similarities at the tip of domain II. Here, we show that the bunyavirus La Crosse virus uses a cholesterol-dependent entry pathway similar to the alphavirus chikungunya virus, and residues in the ij loop are important for virus infectivity in vitro and replication in mice. These studies show that genetically diverse viruses may use similar pathways through conserved structure domains, suggesting that these viruses may be targets for broad-spectrum antivirals in multiple arboviral families.
PMID: 37578236
ISSN: 1098-5514
CID: 5606912

MAVS signaling is required for preventing persistent chikungunya heart infection and chronic vascular tissue inflammation

Noval, Maria G; Spector, Sophie N; Bartnicki, Eric; Izzo, Franco; Narula, Navneet; Yeung, Stephen T; Damani-Yokota, Payal; Dewan, M Zahidunnabi; Mezzano, Valeria; Rodriguez-Rodriguez, Bruno A; Loomis, Cynthia; Khanna, Kamal M; Stapleford, Kenneth A
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) infection has been associated with severe cardiac manifestations, yet, how CHIKV infection leads to heart disease remains unknown. Here, we leveraged both mouse models and human primary cardiac cells to define the mechanisms of CHIKV heart infection. Using an immunocompetent mouse model of CHIKV infection as well as human primary cardiac cells, we demonstrate that CHIKV directly infects and actively replicates in cardiac fibroblasts. In immunocompetent mice, CHIKV is cleared from cardiac tissue without significant damage through the induction of a local type I interferon response from both infected and non-infected cardiac cells. Using mice deficient in major innate immunity signaling components, we found that signaling through the mitochondrial antiviral-signaling protein (MAVS) is required for viral clearance from the heart. In the absence of MAVS signaling, persistent infection leads to focal myocarditis and vasculitis of the large vessels attached to the base of the heart. Large vessel vasculitis was observed for up to 60 days post infection, suggesting CHIKV can lead to vascular inflammation and potential long-lasting cardiovascular complications. This study provides a model of CHIKV cardiac infection and mechanistic insight into CHIKV-induced heart disease, underscoring the importance of monitoring cardiac function in patients with CHIKV infections.
PMID: 37537212
ISSN: 2041-1723
CID: 5594762

Gut microbiome dysbiosis in antibiotic-treated COVID-19 patients is associated with microbial translocation and bacteremia

Bernard-Raichon, Lucie; Venzon, Mericien; Klein, Jon; Axelrad, Jordan E; Zhang, Chenzhen; Sullivan, Alexis P; Hussey, Grant A; Casanovas-Massana, Arnau; Noval, Maria G; Valero-Jimenez, Ana M; Gago, Juan; Putzel, Gregory; Pironti, Alejandro; Wilder, Evan; Thorpe, Lorna E; Littman, Dan R; Dittmann, Meike; Stapleford, Kenneth A; Shopsin, Bo; Torres, Victor J; Ko, Albert I; Iwasaki, Akiko; Cadwell, Ken; Schluter, Jonas
Although microbial populations in the gut microbiome are associated with COVID-19 severity, a causal impact on patient health has not been established. Here we provide evidence that gut microbiome dysbiosis is associated with translocation of bacteria into the blood during COVID-19, causing life-threatening secondary infections. We first demonstrate SARS-CoV-2 infection induces gut microbiome dysbiosis in mice, which correlated with alterations to Paneth cells and goblet cells, and markers of barrier permeability. Samples collected from 96 COVID-19 patients at two different clinical sites also revealed substantial gut microbiome dysbiosis, including blooms of opportunistic pathogenic bacterial genera known to include antimicrobial-resistant species. Analysis of blood culture results testing for secondary microbial bloodstream infections with paired microbiome data indicates that bacteria may translocate from the gut into the systemic circulation of COVID-19 patients. These results are consistent with a direct role for gut microbiome dysbiosis in enabling dangerous secondary infections during COVID-19.
PMID: 36319618
ISSN: 2041-1723
CID: 5358262

Variable susceptibility of intestinal organoid-derived monolayers to SARS-CoV-2 infection

Jang, Kyung Ku; Kaczmarek, Maria E; Dallari, Simone; Chen, Ying-Han; Tada, Takuya; Axelrad, Jordan; Landau, Nathaniel R; Stapleford, Kenneth A; Cadwell, Ken
Gastrointestinal effects associated with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) are highly variable for reasons that are not understood. In this study, we used intestinal organoid-derived cultures differentiated from primary human specimens as a model to examine interindividual variability. Infection of intestinal organoids derived from different donors with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) resulted in orders of magnitude differences in virus replication in small intestinal and colonic organoid-derived monolayers. Susceptibility to infection correlated with angiotensin I converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) expression level and was independent of donor demographic or clinical features. ACE2 transcript levels in cell culture matched the amount of ACE2 in primary tissue, indicating that this feature of the intestinal epithelium is retained in the organoids. Longitudinal transcriptomics of organoid-derived monolayers identified a delayed yet robust interferon signature, the magnitude of which corresponded to the degree of SARS-CoV-2 infection. Interestingly, virus with the Omicron variant spike (S) protein infected the organoids with the highest infectivity, suggesting increased tropism of the virus for intestinal tissue. These results suggest that heterogeneity in SARS-CoV-2 replication in intestinal tissues results from differences in ACE2 levels, which may underlie variable patient outcomes.
PMID: 35358182
ISSN: 1545-7885
CID: 5201282

Emerging chikungunya virus variants at the E1-E1 inter-glycoprotein spike interface impact virus attachment and Inflammation

Rangel, Margarita V; McAllister, Nicole; Dancel-Manning, Kristen; Noval, Maria G; Silva, Laurie A; Stapleford, Kenneth A
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a re-emerging arthropod-borne alphavirus and a serious threat to human health. Therefore, efforts toward elucidating how this virus causes disease and the molecular mechanisms underlying steps of the viral replication cycle are crucial. Using an in vivo transmission system that allows intra-host evolution, we identified an emerging CHIKV variant carrying a mutation in the E1 glycoprotein (V156A) in the serum of mice and saliva of mosquitoes. E1 V156A has since emerged in humans during an outbreak in Brazil, co-occurring with a second mutation, E1 K211T, suggesting an important role for these residues in CHIKV biology. Given the emergence of these variants, we hypothesized that they function to promote CHIKV infectivity and subsequent disease. Here, we show that E1 V156A and E1 K211T modulate virus attachment and fusion and impact binding to heparin, a homolog of heparan sulfate, a key entry factor on host cells. These variants also exhibit differential neutralization by anti-glycoprotein monoclonal antibodies, suggesting structural impacts on the particle that may be responsible for altered interactions at the host membrane. Finally, E1 V156A and E1 K211T exhibit increased titers in an adult arthritic mouse model and induce increased foot-swelling at the site of injection. Taken together, this work has revealed new roles for E1 where discrete regions of the glycoprotein are able to modulate cell attachment and swelling within the host. IMPORTANCE Alphaviruses represent a growing threat to human health worldwide. The re-emerging alphavirus chikungunya virus (CHIKV) has rapidly spread to new geographic regions in the last several decades, causing overwhelming outbreaks of disease, yet there are no approved vaccines or therapeutics. The CHIKV glycoproteins are key determinants of CHIKV adaptation and virulence. In this study, we identify and characterize the emerging E1 glycoprotein variants, V156A and K211T, that have since emerged in nature. We demonstrate that E1 V156A and K211T function in virus attachment to cells, a role that until now has been only attributed to specific residues of the CHIKV E2 glycoprotein. We also demonstrate E1 V156A and K211T to increase foot-swelling of the ipsilateral foot in mice infected with these variants. Observing that these variants and other pathogenic variants occur at the E1-E1 inter-spike interface, we highlight this structurally important region as critical for multiple steps during CHIKV infection. Together, these studies further defines the function of E1 in CHIKV infection and can inform the development of therapeutic or preventative strategies.
PMID: 34935436
ISSN: 1098-5514
CID: 5092702

Atovaquone and Berberine Chloride Reduce SARS-CoV-2 Replication In Vitro

Rodriguez-Rodriguez, Bruno A; Noval, Maria G; Kaczmarek, Maria E; Jang, Kyung Ku; Thannickal, Sara A; Cifuentes Kottkamp, Angelica; Brown, Rebecca S; Kielian, Margaret; Cadwell, Ken; Stapleford, Kenneth A
Epidemic RNA viruses seem to arise year after year leading to countless infections and devastating disease. SARS-CoV-2 is the most recent of these viruses, but there will undoubtedly be more to come. While effective SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are being deployed, one approach that is still missing is effective antivirals that can be used at the onset of infections and therefore prevent pandemics. Here, we screened FDA-approved compounds against SARS-CoV-2. We found that atovaquone, a pyrimidine biosynthesis inhibitor, is able to reduce SARS-CoV-2 infection in human lung cells. In addition, we found that berberine chloride, a plant-based compound used in holistic medicine, was able to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection in cells through direct interaction with the virion. Taken together, these studies highlight potential avenues of antiviral development to block emerging viruses. Such proactive approaches, conducted well before the next pandemic, will be essential to have drugs ready for when the next emerging virus hits.
PMID: 34960706
ISSN: 1999-4915
CID: 5092402

Platelets contribute to disease severity in COVID-19

Barrett, Tessa J; Bilaloglu, Seda; Cornwell, Macintosh; Burgess, Hannah M; Virginio, Vitor W; Drenkova, Kamelia; Ibrahim, Homam; Yuriditsky, Eugene; Aphinyanaphongs, Yin; Lifshitz, Mark; Xia Liang, Feng; Alejo, Julie; Smith, Grace; Pittaluga, Stefania; Rapkiewicz, Amy V; Wang, Jun; Iancu-Rubin, Camelia; Mohr, Ian; Ruggles, Kelly; Stapleford, Kenneth A; Hochman, Judith; Berger, Jeffrey S
OBJECTIVE:Heightened inflammation, dysregulated immunity, and thrombotic events are characteristic of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Given that platelets are key regulators of thrombosis, inflammation, and immunity they represent prime candidates as mediators of COVID-19-associated pathogenesis. The objective of this study was to understand the contribution of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) to the platelet phenotype via phenotypic (activation, aggregation) and transcriptomic characterization. APPROACH AND RESULTS/UNASSIGNED:In a cohort of 3915 hospitalized COVID-19 patients, we analyzed blood platelet indices collected at hospital admission. Following adjustment for demographics, clinical risk factors, medication, and biomarkers of inflammation and thrombosis, we find platelet count, size, and immaturity are associated with increased critical illness and all-cause mortality. Bone marrow, lung tissue, and blood from COVID-19 patients revealed the presence of SARS-CoV-2 virions in megakaryocytes and platelets. Characterization of COVID-19 platelets found them to be hyperreactive (increased aggregation, and expression of P-selectin and CD40) and to have a distinct transcriptomic profile characteristic of prothrombotic large and immature platelets. In vitro mechanistic studies highlight that the interaction of SARS-CoV-2 with megakaryocytes alters the platelet transcriptome, and its effects are distinct from the coronavirus responsible for the common cold (CoV-OC43). CONCLUSIONS:Platelet count, size, and maturity associate with increased critical illness and all-cause mortality among hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Profiling tissues and blood from COVID-19 patients revealed that SARS-CoV-2 virions enter megakaryocytes and platelets and associate with alterations to the platelet transcriptome and activation profile.
PMID: 34538015
ISSN: 1538-7836
CID: 5018172