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See detailIllumination of murine gammaherpesvirus-68 cycle reveals a sexual transmission route from females to males in laboratory mice.
Francois, Sylvie; Vidick, Sarah ULg; Sarlet, Mickael et al

in PLoS Pathogens (2013), 9(4), 1003292

Transmission is a matter of life or death for pathogen lineages and can therefore be considered as the main motor of their evolution. Gammaherpesviruses are archetypal pathogenic persistent viruses which ... [more ▼]

Transmission is a matter of life or death for pathogen lineages and can therefore be considered as the main motor of their evolution. Gammaherpesviruses are archetypal pathogenic persistent viruses which have evolved to be transmitted in presence of specific immune response. Identifying their mode of transmission and their mechanisms of immune evasion is therefore essential to develop prophylactic and therapeutic strategies against these infections. As the known human gammaherpesviruses, Epstein-Barr virus and Kaposi's Sarcoma-associated Herpesvirus are host-specific and lack a convenient in vivo infection model; related animal gammaherpesviruses, such as murine gammaherpesvirus-68 (MHV-68), are commonly used as general models of gammaherpesvirus infections in vivo. To date, it has however never been possible to monitor viral excretion or virus transmission of MHV-68 in laboratory mice population. In this study, we have used MHV-68 associated with global luciferase imaging to investigate potential excretion sites of this virus in laboratory mice. This allowed us to identify a genital excretion site of MHV-68 following intranasal infection and latency establishment in female mice. This excretion occurred at the external border of the vagina and was dependent on the presence of estrogens. However, MHV-68 vaginal excretion was not associated with vertical transmission to the litter or with horizontal transmission to female mice. In contrast, we observed efficient virus transmission to naive males after sexual contact. In vivo imaging allowed us to show that MHV-68 firstly replicated in penis epithelium and corpus cavernosum before spreading to draining lymph nodes and spleen. All together, those results revealed the first experimental transmission model for MHV-68 in laboratory mice. In the future, this model could help us to better understand the biology of gammaherpesviruses and could also allow the development of strategies that could prevent the spread of these viruses in natural populations. [less ▲]

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See detailGlycoprotein B cleavage is important for murid herpesvirus 4 to infect myeloid cells.
Glauser, Daniel L.; Milho, Ricardo; Frederico, Bruno et al

in Journal of Virology (2013)

Glycoprotein B (gB) is a conserved herpesvirus virion component implicated in membrane fusion. As with many - but not all - herpesviruses, the gB of murid herpesvirus 4 (MuHV-4) is cleaved into disulfide ... [more ▼]

Glycoprotein B (gB) is a conserved herpesvirus virion component implicated in membrane fusion. As with many - but not all - herpesviruses, the gB of murid herpesvirus 4 (MuHV-4) is cleaved into disulfide-linked subunits, apparently by furin. Preventing gB cleavage for some herpesviruses causes minor infection deficits in vitro, but what the cleavage contributes to host colonization has been unclear. To address this we mutated the furin cleavage site (R-R-K-R) of the MuHV-4 gB. Abolishing gB cleavage did not affect its expression levels, glycosylation or antigenic conformation. In vitro, mutant viruses entered fibroblasts and epithelial cells normally, but had a significant entry deficit in myeloid cells such as macrophages and bone marrow-derived dendritic cells. The deficit in myeloid cells was not due to reduced virion binding or endocytosis, suggesting that gB cleavage promotes infection at a post-endocytic entry step, presumably viral membrane fusion. In vivo, viruses lacking gB cleavage showed reduced lytic spread in the lungs. Alveolar epithelial cell infection was normal, but alveolar macrophage infection was significantly reduced. Normal long-term latency in lymphoid tissue was established nonetheless. [less ▲]

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See detailMyeloid infection links epithelial and B cell tropisms of murid herpesvirus-4.
Frederico, Bruno; Milho, Ricardo; May, Janet S. et al

in PLoS Pathogens (2012), 8(9), 1002935

Gamma-herpesviruses persist in lymphocytes and cause disease by driving their proliferation. Lymphocyte infection is therefore a key pathogenetic event. Murid Herpesvirus-4 (MuHV-4) is a rhadinovirus that ... [more ▼]

Gamma-herpesviruses persist in lymphocytes and cause disease by driving their proliferation. Lymphocyte infection is therefore a key pathogenetic event. Murid Herpesvirus-4 (MuHV-4) is a rhadinovirus that like the related Kaposi's Sarcoma-associated Herpesvirus persists in B cells in vivo yet infects them poorly in vitro. Here we used MuHV-4 to understand how virion tropism sets the path to lymphocyte colonization. Virions that were highly infectious in vivo showed a severe post-binding block to B cell infection. Host entry was accordingly an epithelial infection and B cell infection a secondary event. Macrophage infection by cell-free virions was also poor, but improved markedly when virion binding improved or when macrophages were co-cultured with infected fibroblasts. Under the same conditions B cell infection remained poor; it improved only when virions came from macrophages. This reflected better cell penetration and correlated with antigenic changes in the virion fusion complex. Macrophages were seen to contact acutely infected epithelial cells, and cre/lox-based virus tagging showed that almost all the virus recovered from lymphoid tissue had passed through lysM(+) and CD11c(+) myeloid cells. Thus MuHV-4 reached B cells in 3 distinct stages: incoming virions infected epithelial cells; infection then passed to myeloid cells; glycoprotein changes then allowed B cell infection. These data identify new complexity in rhadinovirus infection and potentially also new vulnerability to intervention. [less ▲]

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See detailGenital re-excretion of Murid gammaherpesvirus 4 following intranasal infection
François, Sylvie ULg; Vidick, Sarah ULg; Sarlet, Michaël ULg et al

in Proceedings of the 1st Scientific Meeting of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (2011, December 09)

Gammaherpesviruses are the archetypes of persistent viruses that have been identified in a range of animals from mice to man. As the human gammaviruses have no well-established in vivo infection model ... [more ▼]

Gammaherpesviruses are the archetypes of persistent viruses that have been identified in a range of animals from mice to man. As the human gammaviruses have no well-established in vivo infection model, related animal gammaherpesviruses are an important source of information. We are studying Murid herpesvirus 4 (MuHV-4) in inbred laboratory mouse strains which are commonly accepted as a good model for studying gammaherpesviruses in vivo. To date, it has however never been possible to monitor viral reexcretion and virus transmission in this species. In order to identify potential re-excretion sites, intranasally infected mice were followed through global luciferase imaging for up to six months after infection. Surprisingly, we detected transient viral replication in mice genital tract at various times after latency establishment. Ex vivo imaging, quantitative PCR and immunohistochemistry revealed that virus genomes were present in high quantity in the vaginal tissue and that viral replication occurred mainly at the vaginal external border. Moreover, we highlighted the presence of free infectious viruses in the vaginal cavity at the moment of the observation of viral replication. As this ephemeral viral reexcretion could reveal a link with reproductive cycle, we compared reexcretion in normal and ovariectomized mice. Interestingly, no viral reactivation was observed in absence of hormonal cycle. In conclusion, we experimentally indentified for the first time a reexcretion site for MuHV-4 in mice that had been intranasaly infected. In the future, these results could help us to better understand the biology of gammaherpesviruses but should also allow us to develop strategies that could prevent the spread of these viruses in natural populations. [less ▲]

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See detailGenital re-excretion of Murid gammaherpesvirus 4 following intranasal infection
François, Sylvie ULg; Vidick, Sarah ULg; Sarlet, Michaël ULg et al

Poster (2011, November 16)

Gammaherpesviruses are the archetypes of persistent viruses that have been identified in a range of animals from mice to man. As the human gammaviruses have no well-established in vivo infection model ... [more ▼]

Gammaherpesviruses are the archetypes of persistent viruses that have been identified in a range of animals from mice to man. As the human gammaviruses have no well-established in vivo infection model, related animal gammaherpesviruses are an important source of information. We are studying Murid herpesvirus 4 (MuHV-4) in inbred laboratory mouse strains which are commonly accepted as a good model for studying gammaherpesviruses in vivo. To date, it has however never been possible to monitor viral reexcretion and virus transmission in this species. In order to identify potential re-excretion sites, intranasally infected mice were followed through global luciferase imaging for up to six months after infection. Surprisingly, we detected transient viral replication in mice genital tract at various times after latency establishment. Ex vivo imaging, quantitative PCR and immunohistochemistry revealed that virus genomes were present in high quantity in the vaginal tissue and that viral replication occurred mainly at the vaginal external border. Moreover, we highlighted the presence of free infectious viruses in the vaginal cavity at the moment of the observation of viral replication. As this ephemeral viral reexcretion could reveal a link with reproductive cycle, we compared reexcretion in normal and ovariectomized mice. Interestingly, no viral reactivation was observed in absence of hormonal cycle. In conclusion, we experimentally indentified for the first time a reexcretion site for MuHV-4 in mice that had been intranasaly infected. In the future, these results could help us to better understand the biology of gammaherpesviruses but should also allow us to develop strategies that could prevent the spread of these viruses in natural populations. [less ▲]

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See detailAntibody evasion by a gammaherpesvirus o-glycan shield.
Machiels, Bénédicte ULg; Lété, Céline ULg; Guillaume, Antoine ULg et al

in PLoS Pathogens (2011), 7(11), 1002387

All gammaherpesviruses encode a major glycoprotein homologous to the Epstein-Barr virus gp350. These glycoproteins are often involved in cell binding, and some provide neutralization targets. However, the ... [more ▼]

All gammaherpesviruses encode a major glycoprotein homologous to the Epstein-Barr virus gp350. These glycoproteins are often involved in cell binding, and some provide neutralization targets. However, the capacity of gammaherpesviruses for long-term transmission from immune hosts implies that in vivo neutralization is incomplete. In this study, we used Bovine Herpesvirus 4 (BoHV-4) to determine how its gp350 homolog - gp180 - contributes to virus replication and neutralization. A lack of gp180 had no impact on the establishment and maintenance of BoHV-4 latency, but markedly sensitized virions to neutralization by immune sera. Antibody had greater access to gB, gH and gL on gp180-deficient virions, including neutralization epitopes. Gp180 appears to be highly O-glycosylated, and removing O-linked glycans from virions also sensitized them to neutralization. It therefore appeared that gp180 provides part of a glycan shield for otherwise vulnerable viral epitopes. Interestingly, this O-glycan shield could be exploited for neutralization by lectins and carbohydrate-specific antibody. The conservation of O-glycosylation sites in all gp350 homologs suggests that this is a general evasion mechanism that may also provide a therapeutic target. [less ▲]

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See detailBovine Herpesvirus 4 Bo10 gene encodes a nonessential viral envelope protein that regulates viral tropism through both positive and negative effects.
Machiels, Bénédicte ULg; Lété, Céline ULg; Defays, Katalin et al

in Journal of Virology (2011), 85(2), 1011-1024

All gammaherpesviruses encode a glycoprotein positionally homologous to the Epstein-Barr virus gp350 and the Kaposi's Sarcoma associated herpesvirus (KSHV) K8.1. In this study, we characterized that of ... [more ▼]

All gammaherpesviruses encode a glycoprotein positionally homologous to the Epstein-Barr virus gp350 and the Kaposi's Sarcoma associated herpesvirus (KSHV) K8.1. In this study, we characterized that of Bovine Herpesvirus-4 (BoHV-4), encoded by the Bo10 gene. We identified a 180 kDa gene product, gp180, which was incorporated into the virion envelope. A Bo10 deletion virus was viable, but showed a growth deficit associated with reduced binding to epithelial cells. This seemed to reflect an interaction of gp180 with glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), since the Bo10 mutant was both less infectious for GAG(+) cells than the wild-type and more infectious for GAG(-) cells. However, we could not identify a direct interaction between gp180 and GAGs, implying that any direct interaction must be of low affinity. This function of gp180 was very similar to that previously identified for the Murid Herpesvirus 4 gp150, and also to the Epstein-Barr virus gp350 that promotes CD21(+) cell infection and inhibits CD21(-) cell infection. We propose that such proteins generally regulate virion attachment both by binding to cells and by covering another receptor-binding protein until they are displaced. Thus they regulate viral tropism both positively and negatively depending upon the presence or absence of their receptor. [less ▲]

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See detailA mechanistic basis for potent, glycoprotein B-directed gammaherpesvirus neutralization.
Glauser, Daniel L; Kratz, Anne*-Sophie; Gillet, Laurent ULg et al

in Journal of General Virology (The) (2011), 92(Pt 9), 2020-33

Glycoprotein B (gB) is a conserved, essential component of gammaherpes virions and so potentially vulnerable to neutralization. However, few good gB-specific neutralizing antibodies have been identified ... [more ▼]

Glycoprotein B (gB) is a conserved, essential component of gammaherpes virions and so potentially vulnerable to neutralization. However, few good gB-specific neutralizing antibodies have been identified. Here, we show that murid herpesvirus 4 is strongly neutralized by mAbs that recognize an epitope close to one of the gB fusion loops. Antibody binding did not stop gB interacting with its cellular ligands or initiating its fusion-associated conformation change, but did stop gB resolving stably to its post-fusion form, and so blocked membrane fusion to leave virions stranded in late endosomes. The conservation of gB makes this mechanism a possible general route to gammaherpesvirus neutralization. [less ▲]

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See detailGenital re-excretion of Murid gammaherpesvirus 4 following intranasal infection
François, Sylvie ULg; Vidick, Sarah ULg; Sarlet, Michaël ULg et al

Poster (2010, November 18)

Gammaherpesviruses are the archetypes of persistent viruses that have been identified in a range of animals from mice to man. They are host-range specific and establish persistent, productive infections ... [more ▼]

Gammaherpesviruses are the archetypes of persistent viruses that have been identified in a range of animals from mice to man. They are host-range specific and establish persistent, productive infections of immunocompetent hosts. Thus, infected individuals simultaneously both elicit antiviral protective immune response and secrete infectious virions. The best studied gammaherpesviruses are Human herpesvirus 4 and Human herpesvirus 8. As these viruses have no well-established in vivo infection model, related animal gammaherpesviruses are an important source of information. We are studying Murid herpesvirus 4 (MuHV-4), a virus that has originally been isolated from bank voles (Myodes glareolus). Although MuHV-4 has not been isolated from house mice (Mus musculus), infection of inbred laboratory mouse strains is commonly accepted as a good model for studying gammaherpesviruses in vivo. To date, it has however never been possible to monitor viral reexcretion and virus transmission in this species suggesting that this model could be imperfect. In order to identify potential re-excretion sites, intranasally infected mice were followed through global luciferase imaging for up to six months after infection. By this technique, we were able to detect appearance of viral replication in mice genital tract at various times post-infection. Typically, it firstly occurred between days 20 to 30 after infection, a period at which it is admitted that latency is established. Ex vivo imaging, quantitative PCR and immunohistochemistry helped us to determine that virus genomes were present in high quantity in the vaginal tissue and that viral replication occurred mainly at the vaginal external border. Finally, we highlighted the presence of free infectious viruses in the vaginal cavity at the moment of the observation of viral replication. In conclusion, we experimentally indentified for the first time a reexcretion site for MuHV-4 in mice that had been intranasaly infected. It therefore suggests potential genital transmission, either horizontal or vertical, of this virus in mice populations. In the future, these results could help us to better understand the biology of gammaherpesviruses but should also allow us to develop vaccinal strategies that could prevent the spread of these viruses in natural populations. [less ▲]

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See detailComparative study of Murid gammaherpesvirus 4 infection in mice and in its natural host, the bank voles.
François, Sylvie ULg; Vidick, Sarah ULg; Koteja, Pawel et al

Poster (2009, December 11)

Gammaherpesviruses are the archetypes of persistent viruses that have been identified in a range of animals from mice to man. They are host-range specific and establish persistent, productive infections ... [more ▼]

Gammaherpesviruses are the archetypes of persistent viruses that have been identified in a range of animals from mice to man. They are host-range specific and establish persistent, productive infections of immunocompetent hosts. Thus, infected individuals simultaneously both elicit antiviral protective immune response and secrete infectious virions. The best studied gammaherpesviruses are Human herpesvirus 4 and Human herpesvirus 8. As these viruses have no well-established in vivo infection model, related animal gammaherpesviruses are an important source of information. We are studying Murid herpesvirus 4 (MuHV-4), a virus that has originally been isolated from bank voles (Myodes glareolus). Although MuHV-4 has not been isolated from house mice (Mus musculus), infection of inbred laboratory mouse strains is commonly accepted as a good model for studying gammaherpesviruses in vivo. It has however never been possible to monitor viral reexcretion and virus transmission in this species suggesting that this model could be imperfect. In this study, we therefore characterized MuHV-4 infection in its natural host, the bank voles, through classical virological methods but also through global luciferase imaging for an anatomical complete view of the infection. Results obtained show that, after intra-nasal infection, the natural route of infection is similar in mice and voles. Following nasal productive infection, the virus spreads to the lung where the infection is accompanied by massive cellular infiltrates. By opposition to extensive viral replication observed in mice, the different analyses indicated that the viral replication was ~1000 fold lower in bank voles. This lower replication did however not affect colonization of latency sites in superficial cervical lymph nodes and spleen as measured by real-time PCR quantification of viral genomes in these organs. In conclusion, this study revealed that MuHV-4 can experimentally infect bank voles, the supposed natural host, but with a lower replicative power. As, gammaherpesvirus epidemiology indicates that transmission correlates with the latent load, our results suggest that gammaherpesviruses may have evolved to infect their hosts without extensive lytic spread. In the future, establishment of experimental transmission in a population of Myodes glareolus should help us to better understand mechanisms used by gammaherpesviruses to evade immune response. [less ▲]

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See detailIn vivo imaging of murid herpesvirus-4 infection.
Milho, Ricardo; Smith, Christopher M; Marques, Sofia et al

in Journal of General Virology (The) (2009), 90(Pt 1), 21-32

Luciferase-based imaging allows a global view of microbial pathogenesis. We applied this technique to gammaherpesvirus infection by inserting a luciferase expression cassette into the genome of murine ... [more ▼]

Luciferase-based imaging allows a global view of microbial pathogenesis. We applied this technique to gammaherpesvirus infection by inserting a luciferase expression cassette into the genome of murine herpesvirus-4 (MuHV-4). The recombinant virus strongly expressed luciferase in lytically infected cells without significant attenuation. We used it to compare different routes of virus inoculation. After intranasal infection of anaesthetized mice, luciferase was expressed in the nose and lungs for 7-10 days and in lymphoid tissue, most consistently the superficial cervical lymph nodes, for up to 30 days. Gastrointestinal infection was not observed. Intraperitoneal infection was very different to intranasal, with strong luciferase expression in the liver, kidneys, intestines, reproductive tract and spleen, but none in the nose or lungs. The nose has not previously been identified as a site of MuHV-4 infection. After intranasal infection of non-anaesthetized mice, it was the only site of non-lymphoid luciferase expression. Nevertheless, lymphoid colonization and persistence were still established, even at low inoculation doses. In contrast, virus delivered orally was very poorly infectious. Inoculation route therefore had a major impact on pathogenesis. Low dose intranasal infection without anaesthesia seems most likely to mimic natural transmission, and may therefore be particularly informative about normal viral gene functions. [less ▲]

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See detailGlycoprotein L sets the neutralization profile of murid herpesvirus 4.
Gillet, Laurent ULg; Alenquer, Marta; Glauser, Daniel L et al

in Journal of General Virology (The) (2009), 90(Pt 5), 1202-14

Antibodies readily neutralize acute, epidemic viruses, but are less effective against more indolent pathogens such as herpesviruses. Murid herpesvirus 4 (MuHV-4) provides an accessible model for tracking ... [more ▼]

Antibodies readily neutralize acute, epidemic viruses, but are less effective against more indolent pathogens such as herpesviruses. Murid herpesvirus 4 (MuHV-4) provides an accessible model for tracking the fate of antibody-exposed gammaherpesvirus virions. Glycoprotein L (gL) plays a central role in MuHV-4 entry: it allows gH to bind heparan sulfate and regulates fusion-associated conformation changes in gH and gB. However, gL is non-essential: heparan sulfate binding can also occur via gp70, and the gB-gH complex alone seems to be sufficient for membrane fusion. Here, we investigated how gL affects the susceptibility of MuHV-4 to neutralization. Immune sera neutralized gL(-) virions more readily than gL(+) virions, chiefly because heparan sulfate binding now depended on gp70 and was therefore easier to block. However, there were also post-binding effects. First, the downstream, gL-independent conformation of gH became a neutralization target; gL normally prevents this by holding gH in an antigenically distinct heterodimer until after endocytosis. Second, gL(-) virions were more vulnerable to gB-directed neutralization. This covered multiple epitopes and thus seemed to reflect a general opening up of the gH-gB entry complex, which gL again normally restricts to late endosomes. gL therefore limits MuHV-4 neutralization by providing redundancy in cell binding and by keeping key elements of the virion fusion machinery hidden until after endocytosis. [less ▲]

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See detailIn vivo importance of heparan sulfate-binding glycoproteins for murid herpesvirus-4 infection.
Gillet, Laurent ULg; May, Janet S; Stevenson, Philip G

in Journal of General Virology (The) (2009), 90(Pt 3), 602-13

Many herpesviruses bind to heparan sulfate (HS). Murid herpesvirus-4 (MuHV-4) does so via its envelope glycoproteins gp70 and gH/gL. MuHV-4 gp150 further regulates an HS-independent interaction to make ... [more ▼]

Many herpesviruses bind to heparan sulfate (HS). Murid herpesvirus-4 (MuHV-4) does so via its envelope glycoproteins gp70 and gH/gL. MuHV-4 gp150 further regulates an HS-independent interaction to make that HS-dependent too. Cell binding by MuHV-4 virions is consequently strongly HS-dependent. Gp70 and gH/gL show some in vitro redundancy: an antibody-mediated blockade of HS binding by one is well tolerated, whereas a blockade of both severely impairs infection. In order to understand the importance of HS binding for MuHV-4 in vivo, we generated mutants lacking both gL and gp70. As expected, gL(-)gp70(-) MuHV-4 showed very poor cell binding. It infected mice at high dose but not at low dose, indicating defective host entry. But once entry occurred, host colonization, which for MuHV-4 is relatively independent of the infection dose, was remarkably normal. The gL(-)gp70(-) entry deficit was much greater than that of gL(-) or gp70(-) single knockouts. And gp150 disruption, which allows HS-independent cell binding, largely rescued the gL(-)gp70(-) cell binding and host entry deficits. Thus, it appeared that MuHV-4 HS binding is important in vivo, principally for efficient host entry. [less ▲]

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See detailThe Murid Herpesvirus-4 gL regulates an entry-associated conformation change in gH.
Gillet, Laurent ULg; Colaco, Susanna; Stevenson, Philip G

in PLoS ONE (2008), 3(7), 2811

The glycoprotein H (gH)/gL heterodimer is crucial for herpesvirus membrane fusion. Yet how it functions is not well understood. The Murid Herpesvirus-4 gH, like that of other herpesviruses, adopts its ... [more ▼]

The glycoprotein H (gH)/gL heterodimer is crucial for herpesvirus membrane fusion. Yet how it functions is not well understood. The Murid Herpesvirus-4 gH, like that of other herpesviruses, adopts its normal virion conformation by associating with gL. However, gH switched back to a gL-independent conformation after virion endocytosis. This switch coincided with a conformation switch in gB and with capsid release. Virions lacking gL constitutively expressed the down-stream form of gH, prematurely switched gB to its down-stream form, and showed premature capsid release with poor infectivity. These data argue that gL plays a key role in regulating a gH and gB functional switch from cell binding to membrane fusion. [less ▲]

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See detailThe murid herpesvirus-4 gH/gL binds to glycosaminoglycans.
Gillet, Laurent ULg; Colaco, Susanna; Stevenson, Philip G

in PLoS ONE (2008), 3(2), 1669

The first contact a virus makes with cells is an important determinant of its tropism. Murid Herpesvirus-4 (MuHV-4) is highly dependent on glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) for cell binding. Its first contact is ... [more ▼]

The first contact a virus makes with cells is an important determinant of its tropism. Murid Herpesvirus-4 (MuHV-4) is highly dependent on glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) for cell binding. Its first contact is therefore likely to involve a GAG-binding virion glycoprotein. We have previously identified two such proteins, gp70 and gp150. Gp70 binds strongly to GAGs. However, deleting it makes little difference to MuHV-4 cell binding or GAG-dependence. Deleting gp150, by contrast, frees MuHV-4 from GAG dependence. This implies that GAGs normally displace gp150 to allow GAG-independent cell binding. But the gp150 GAG interaction is weak, and so would seem unlikely to make an effective first contact. Since neither gp70 nor gp150 matches the expected profile of a first contact glycoprotein, our understanding of MuHV-4 GAG interactions must be incomplete. Here we relate the seemingly disconnected gp70 and gp150 GAG interactions by showing that the MuHV-4 gH/gL also binds to GAGs. gH/gL-blocking and gp70-blocking antibodies individually had little effect on cell binding, but together were strongly inhibitory. Thus, there was redundancy in GAG binding between gp70 and gH/gL. Gp150-deficient MuHV-4 largely resisted blocks to gp70 and gH/gL binding, consistent with its GAG independence. The failure of wild-type MuHV-4 to do the same argues that gp150 is normally engaged only down-stream of gp70 or gH/gL. MuHV-4 GAG dependence is consequently two-fold: gp70 or gH/gL binding provides virions with a vital first foothold, and gp150 is then engaged to reveal GAG-independent binding. [less ▲]

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See detailGlycoprotein B switches conformation during murid herpesvirus 4 entry.
Gillet, Laurent ULg; Colaco, Susanna; Stevenson, Philip G

in Journal of General Virology (The) (2008), 89(Pt 6), 1352-63

Herpesviruses are ancient pathogens that infect all vertebrates. The most conserved component of their entry machinery is glycoprotein B (gB), yet how gB functions is unclear. A striking feature of the ... [more ▼]

Herpesviruses are ancient pathogens that infect all vertebrates. The most conserved component of their entry machinery is glycoprotein B (gB), yet how gB functions is unclear. A striking feature of the murid herpesvirus 4 (MuHV-4) gB is its resistance to neutralization. Here, we show by direct visualization of infected cells that the MuHV-4 gB changes its conformation between extracellular virions and those in late endosomes, where capsids are released. Specifically, epitopes on its N-terminal cell-binding domain become inaccessible, whilst non-N-terminal epitopes are revealed, consistent with structural changes reported for the vesicular stomatitis virus glycoprotein G. Inhibitors of endosomal acidification blocked the gB conformation switch. They also blocked capsid release and the establishment of infection, implying that the gB switch is a key step in entry. Neutralizing antibodies could only partially inhibit the switch. Their need to engage a less vulnerable, upstream form of gB, because its fusion form is revealed only in endosomes, helps to explain why gB-directed MuHV-4 neutralization is so difficult. [less ▲]

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See detailIgG fc receptors provide an alternative infection route for murine gamma-herpesvirus-68.
Rosa, Gustavo T; Gillet, Laurent ULg; Smith, Christopher M et al

in PLoS ONE (2007), 2(6), 560

BACKGROUND: Herpesviruses can be neutralized in vitro but remain infectious in immune hosts. One difference between these settings is the availability of immunoglobulin Fc receptors. The question ... [more ▼]

BACKGROUND: Herpesviruses can be neutralized in vitro but remain infectious in immune hosts. One difference between these settings is the availability of immunoglobulin Fc receptors. The question therefore arises whether a herpesvirus exposed to apparently neutralizing antibody can still infect Fc receptor(+) cells. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Immune sera blocked murine gamma-herpesvirus-68 (MHV-68) infection of fibroblasts, but failed to block and even enhanced its infection of macrophages and dendritic cells. Viral glycoprotein-specific monoclonal antibodies also enhanced infection. MHV-68 appeared to be predominantly latent in macrophages regardless of whether Fc receptors were engaged, but the infection was not abortive and new virus production soon overwhelmed infected cultures. Lytically infected macrophages down-regulated MHC class I-restricted antigen presentation, endocytosis and their response to LPS. CONCLUSIONS: IgG Fc receptors limit the neutralization of gamma-herpesviruses such as MHV-68. [less ▲]

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See detailGlycosaminoglycan interactions in murine gammaherpesvirus-68 infection.
Gillet, Laurent ULg; Adler, Heiko; Stevenson, Philip G

in PLoS ONE (2007), 2(4), 347

Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) commonly participate in herpesvirus entry. They are thought to provide a reversible attachment to cells that promotes subsequent receptor binding. Murine gamma-herpesvirus-68 ... [more ▼]

Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) commonly participate in herpesvirus entry. They are thought to provide a reversible attachment to cells that promotes subsequent receptor binding. Murine gamma-herpesvirus-68 (MHV-68) infection of fibroblasts and epithelial cells is highly GAG-dependent. This is a function of the viral gp150, in that gp150-deficient mutants are much less GAG-dependent than wild-type. Here we show that the major MHV-68 GAG-binding protein is not gp150 but gp70, a product of ORF4. Surprisingly, ORF4-deficient MHV-68 showed normal cell binding and was more sensitive than wild-type to inhibition by soluble heparin rather than less. Thus, the most obvious viral GAG interaction made little direct contribution to infection. Indeed, a large fraction of the virion gp70 had its GAG-binding domain removed by post-translational cleavage. ORF4 may therefore act mainly to absorb soluble GAGs and prevent them from engaging gp150 prematurely. In contrast to gp70, gp150 bound poorly to GAGs, implying that it provides little in the way of adhesion. We hypothesize that it acts instead as a GAG-sensitive switch that selectively activates MHV-68 entry at cell surfaces. [less ▲]

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See detailPost-exposure vaccination improves gammaherpesvirus neutralization.
Gillet, Laurent ULg; May, Janet S; Stevenson, Philip G

in PLoS ONE (2007), 2(9), 899

Herpesvirus carriers transmit infection despite making virus-specific antibodies. Thus, their antibody responses are not necessarily optimal. An important question for infection control is whether ... [more ▼]

Herpesvirus carriers transmit infection despite making virus-specific antibodies. Thus, their antibody responses are not necessarily optimal. An important question for infection control is whether vaccinating carriers might improve virus neutralization. The antibody response to murine gamma-herpesvirus-68 (MHV-68) blocks cell binding, but fails to block and even enhances an IgG Fc receptor-dependent infection of myeloid cells. Viral membrane fusion therefore remains intact. Although gH/gL-specific monoclonal antibodies can block infection at a post-binding step close to membrane fusion, gH/gL is a relatively minor antibody target in virus carriers. We show here that gH/gL-specific antibodies can block both Fc receptor-independent and Fc receptor-dependent infections, and that vaccinating virus carriers with a gH/gL fusion protein improves their capacity for virus neutralization both in vitro and in vivo. This approach has the potential to reduce herpesvirus transmission. [less ▲]

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See detailThe murine gammaherpesvirus-68 gp150 acts as an immunogenic decoy to limit virion neutralization.
Gillet, Laurent ULg; May, Janet S; Colaco, Susanna et al

in PLoS ONE (2007), 2(1), 705

Herpesviruses maintain long-term infectivity without marked antigenic variation. They must therefore evade neutralization by other means. Immune sera block murine gammaherpesvirus-68 (MHV-68) infection of ... [more ▼]

Herpesviruses maintain long-term infectivity without marked antigenic variation. They must therefore evade neutralization by other means. Immune sera block murine gammaherpesvirus-68 (MHV-68) infection of fibroblasts, but fail to block and even enhance its infection of IgG Fc receptor-bearing cells, suggesting that the antibody response to infection is actually poor at ablating virion infectivity completely. Here we analyzed this effect further by quantitating the glycoprotein-specific antibody response of MHV-68 carrier mice. Gp150 was much the commonest glycoprotein target and played a predominant role in driving Fc receptor-dependent infection: when gp150-specific antibodies were boosted, Fc receptor-dependent infection increased; and when gp150-specific antibodies were removed, Fc receptor-dependent infection was largely lost. Neither gp150-specific monoclonal antibodies nor gp150-specific polyclonal sera gave significant virion neutralization. Gp150 therefore acts as an immunogenic decoy, distorting the MHV-68-specific antibody response to promote Fc receptor-dependent infection and so compromise virion neutralization. This immune evasion mechanism may be common to many non-essential herpesvirus glycoproteins. [less ▲]

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