Dr. Brandt is a Professor in the Departments of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Medical Microbiology and Immunology, and the Clinical Cancer Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His primary research interest is virology, specifically pathogenesis of herpes simplex virus; virulence genes in herpetic eye disease and herpes encephalitis; antivirals; interactions between cytokines and herpes viruses, gene delivery, and gene therapy.
Disease parameters following ocular herpes simplex virus type 1 infection are similar in male and female BALB/C mice
PLoS One. 2023 Jun 15;18(6):e0287194. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0287194. eCollection 2023.
Sex related differences in the incidence or severity of infection have been described for multiple viruses. With herpes simplex viruses, the best example is HSV-2 genital infection where women have a higher incidence of infection and can have more severe infections than men. HSV-1 causes several types of infections including skin and mucosal ulcers, keratitis, and encephalitis in humans that do not appear to have a strong biological sex component. Given that mouse strains differ in their MHC loci it is important to determine if sex differences occur in multiple strains of mice. Our goal was to answer two questions: Are virus related sex differences present in BALB/C mice and does virulence of the viral strain have an effect? We generated a panel of recombinant HSV-1 viruses with differing virulence phenotypes and characterized multiple clinical correlates of ocular infection in BALB/c mice. We found no sex-specific differences in blepharitis, corneal clouding, neurovirulence, and viral titers in eye washes. Sex differences in neovascularization, weight loss and eyewash titers were observed for some recombinants, but these were not consistent across the phenotypes tested for any recombinant virus. Considering these findings, we conclude that there are no significant sex specific ocular pathologies in the parameters measured, regardless of the virulence phenotype following ocular infection in BALB/c mice, suggesting that the use of both sexes is not necessary for the bulk of ocular infection studies.
ICTV Virus Taxonomy Profile: <em>Herpesviridae</em> 2021
J Gen Virol. 2021 Oct;102(10):001673. doi: 10.1099/jgv.0.001673.
Members of the family Herpesviridae have enveloped, spherical virions with characteristic complex structures consisting of symmetrical and non-symmetrical components. The linear, double-stranded DNA genomes of 125-241 kbp contain 70-170 genes, of which 43 have been inherited from an ancestral herpesvirus. In general, herpesviruses have coevolved with and are highly adapted to their hosts, which comprise many mammalian, avian and reptilian species. Following primary infection, they are able to establish lifelong latent infection, during which there is limited viral gene expression. Severe disease is usually observed only in the foetus, the very young, the immunocompromised or following infection of an alternative host. This is a summary of the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) Report on the family Herpesviridae, which is available at ictv.global/report/herpesviridae.
Knockdown of TRIM5α or TRIM11 increases lentiviral vector transduction efficiency of human Muller cells
Exp Eye Res. 2021 Mar;204:108436. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2021.108436. Epub 2021 Jan 10.
The goal of this study was to determine the expression and distribution of the host restriction factors (RFs) TRIM5α and TRIM11 in non-human primate (NHP) neural retina tissue and the human Muller cell line MIO-M1. In addition, experiments were performed to determine the effect of TRIM5α and TRIM11 knockdown on FIVGFP transduction of MIO-M1 cells with the goal of devising strategies to increase the efficiency of lentiviral (LV) gene delivery. Immunofluorescence (IF) studies indicated that TRIM5α and TRIM11 were localized predominantly in nuclei within the outer nuclear layer (ONL) and inner nuclear layer (INL) of NHP retina tissue. Double label IF indicated that TRIM5α and TRIM11 were localized to some of the retinal Muller cell nuclei. MIO-M1 cells expressed TRIM5α predominantly in the nucleus and TRIM11 primarily in the cytosol. FIVGFP transduction efficiency was significantly increased, at 4 and 7 days post transduction, in TRIM5α and TRIM11 knockdown clones (KD) compared to WT MIO-M1 cells. In addition, pretreatment with the proteasome inhibitor MG132 increased the transduction efficiency of FIVGFP in WT MIO-M1 cells. The nuclear translocation of NF-κB (p65), at 72 h post FIVGFP transduction, was enhanced in TRIM5α and TRIM11 KD clones. The expression of TRIM5α and TRIM11 in macaque neural retina tissue and MIO-M1 cells indicate the presence of these RFs in NHP retina and human Muller cells. Our data indicate that even partial knockdown of TRIM5α or TRIM11, or a short proteasome inhibitor pretreatment, can increase the transduction efficiency of a LV vector.
Genomic nucleotide-based distance analysis for delimiting old world monkey derived herpes simplex virus species
BMC Genomics. 2020 Jun 26;21(1):436. doi: 10.1186/s12864-020-06847-w.
BACKGROUND: Herpes simplex viruses form a genus within the alphaherpesvirus subfamily, with three identified viral species isolated from Old World monkeys (OWM); Macacine alphaherpesvirus 1 (McHV-1; herpes B), Cercopithecine alphaherpesvirus 2 (SA8), and Papiine alphaherpesvirus 2 (PaHV-2; herpes papio). Herpes B is endemic to macaques, while PaHV-2 and SA8 appear endemic to baboons. All three viruses are genetically and antigenically similar, with SA8 and PaHV-2 thought to be avirulent in humans, while herpes B is a biosafety level 4 pathogen. Recently, next-generation sequencing (NGS) has resulted in an increased number of published OWM herpes simplex genomes, allowing an encompassing phylogenetic analysis.
RESULTS: In this study, phylogenetic networks, in conjunction with a genome-based genetic distance cutoff method were used to examine 27 OWM monkey herpes simplex isolates. Genome-based genetic distances were calculated, resulting in distances between lion and pig-tailed simplex viruses themselves, and versus herpes B core strains that were higher than those between PaHV-2 and SA8 (approximately 14 and 10% respectively). The species distance cutoff was determined to be 8.94%, with the method recovering separate species status for PaHV-2 and SA8 and showed that lion and pig-tailed simplex viruses (vs core herpes B strains) were well over the distance species cutoff.
CONCLUSIONS: We propose designating lion and pig-tailed simplex viruses as separate, individual viral species, and that this may be the first identification of viral cryptic species.
Correction: Using HSV-1 Genome Phylogenetics to Track Past Human Migrations
Toll-like receptors 4, 5, 6 and 7 are constitutively expressed in non-human primate retinal neurons
J Neuroimmunol. 2018 Sep 15;322:26-35. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2018.06.007. Epub 2018 Jun 11.
The purpose of this study was to characterize cell-specific expression patterns of Toll-like receptors (TLR) in non-human primate (NHP) neural retina tissue. TLR 4, 5, 6, and 7 proteins were detected by immunblotting of macaque retina tissue lysates and quantitative PCR (qPCR) demonstrated TLRs 4-7 mRNA expression. Immunofluorescence (IF) microscopy detected TLRs 4-7 in multiple cell types in macaque neural retina including Muller, retinal ganglion cells (RGC), amacrine, and bipolar cells. These results demonstrate that TLRs 4-7 are constitutively expressed by neurons in the NHP retina raising the possibility that these cells could be involved in retinal innate inflammatory responses.
Phylogenetic and recombination analysis of the herpesvirus genus varicellovirus
BMC Genomics. 2017 Nov 21;18(1):887. doi: 10.1186/s12864-017-4283-4.
BACKGROUND: The varicelloviruses comprise a genus within the alphaherpesvirus subfamily, and infect both humans and other mammals. Recently, next-generation sequencing has been used to generate genomic sequences of several members of the Varicellovirus genus. Here, currently available varicellovirus genomic sequences were used for phylogenetic, recombination, and genetic distance analysis.
RESULTS: A phylogenetic network including genomic sequences of individual species, was generated and suggested a potential restriction between the ungulate and non-ungulate viruses. Intraspecies genetic distances were higher in the ungulate viruses (pseudorabies virus (SuHV-1) 1.65%, bovine herpes virus type 1 (BHV-1) 0.81%, equine herpes virus type 1 (EHV-1) 0.79%, equine herpes virus type 4 (EHV-4) 0.16%) than non-ungulate viruses (feline herpes virus type 1 (FHV-1) 0.0089%, canine herpes virus type 1 (CHV-1) 0.005%, varicella-zoster virus (VZV) 0.136%). The G + C content of the ungulate viruses was also higher (SuHV-1 73.6%, BHV-1 72.6%, EHV-1 56.6%, EHV-4 50.5%) compared to the non-ungulate viruses (FHV-1 45.8%, CHV-1 31.6%, VZV 45.8%), which suggests a possible link between G + C content and intraspecies genetic diversity. Varicellovirus clade nomenclature is variable across different species, and we propose a standardization based on genomic genetic distance. A recent study reported no recombination between sequenced FHV-1 strains, however in the present study, both splitstree, bootscan, and PHI analysis indicated recombination. We also found that the recently sequenced Brazilian CHV-1 strain BTU-1 may contain a genetic signal in the UL50 gene from an unknown varicellovirus.
CONCLUSION: Together, the data contribute to a greater understanding of varicellovirus genomics, and we also suggest a new clade nomenclature scheme based on genetic distances.
Effect of a Soluble Epoxide Hydrolase Inhibitor, UC1728, on LPS-Induced Uveitis in the Rabbit
J Ocul Biol. 2016 Jan;4(1):10.13188/2334-2838.1000024. doi: 10.13188/2334-2838.1000024. Epub 2016 Jan 12.
Cytochrome P450 epoxygenase isozymes convert free arachidonic acid into eicosanoids named epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs) that have roles in regulating inflammation. EETs are rapidly converted to dihydroxyeicosatrienoic acids (DiHETs) by soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH). Little is known about the potential role of these metabolites in uveitis, but conversion of EETs to DiHETs could contribute to the inflammation. We tested a potent and orally available inhibitor of sEH for its ability to reduce ocular inflammation in a rabbit LPS-induced model of uveitis. Rabbits were treated by subcutaneous injection with the sEH inhibitor (UC1728, 3 mg/kg), or the vehicle control (PEG400) and uveitis was assessed at 6, 24 and 48 h post-intracameral LPS injection using a modified Hackett-McDonald scoring system. Eyes treated by intra-cameral injection of PBS, or by aseptic preparation served as further controls. Signs of inflammation in this model were mild and transient. Treatment with UC1728 did not significantly reduce inflammation compared to animals treated with the PEG400 vehicle. Blood levels of UC1728 were a thousand fold higher than the in vitro determined inhibitory potency (IC50) of the compound suggesting a significant degree of inhibition of sEH in the rabbit. The lack of efficacy suggests that sEH or its substrates the EETs may not be involved in mediating inflammation in this model of uveitis.
Mapping Murine Corneal Neovascularization and Weight Loss Virulence Determinants in the Herpes Simplex Virus 1 Genome and the Detection of an Epistatic Interaction between the UL and IRS/US Regions
J Virol. 2016 Aug 26;90(18):8115-31. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00821-16. Print 2016 Sep 15.
Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) most commonly causes recrudescent labial ulcers; however, it is also the leading cause of infectious blindness in developed countries. Previous research in animal models has demonstrated that the severity of HSV-1 ocular disease is influenced by three main factors: host innate immunity, host immune response, and viral strain. We have previously shown that mixed infection with two avirulent HSV-1 strains (OD4 and CJ994) results in recombinants with a wide range of ocular disease phenotype severity. Recently, we developed a quantitative trait locus (QTL)-based computational approach (vQTLmap) to identify viral single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) predicted to influence the severity of the ocular disease phenotypes. We have now applied vQTLmap to identify HSV-1 SNPs associated with corneal neovascularization and mean peak percentage weight loss (MPWL) using 65 HSV-1 OD4-CJ994 recombinants. The vQTLmap analysis using Random Forest for neovascularization identified phenotypically meaningful nonsynonymous SNPs in the ICP4, UL41 (VHS), UL42, UL46 (VP11/12), UL47 (VP13/14), UL48 (VP22), US3, US4 (gG), US6 (gD), and US7 (gI) coding regions. The ICP4 gene was previously identified as a corneal neovascularization determinant, validating the vQTLmap method. Further analysis detected an epistatic interaction for neovascularization between a segment of the unique long (UL) region and a segment of the inverted repeat short (IRS)/unique short (US) region. Ridge regression was used to identify MPWL-associated nonsynonymous SNPs in the UL1 (gL), UL2, UL4, UL49 (VP22), UL50, and ICP4 coding regions. The data provide additional insights into virulence gene and epistatic interaction discovery in HSV-1.
IMPORTANCE: Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) typically causes recurrent cold sores; however, it is also the leading source of infectious blindness in developed countries. Corneal neovascularization is critical for the progression of blinding ocular disease, and weight loss is a measure of infection severity. Previous HSV-1 animal virulence studies have shown that the severity of ocular disease is partially due to the viral strain. In the current study, we used a recently described computational quantitative trait locus (QTL) approach in conjunction with 65 HSV-1 recombinants to identify viral single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) involved in neovascularization and weight loss. Neovascularization SNPs were identified in the ICP4, VHS, UL42, VP11/12, VP13/14, VP22, gG, US3, gD, and gI genes. Further analysis revealed an epistatic interaction between the UL and US regions. MPWL-associated SNPs were detected in the UL1 (gL), UL2, UL4, VP22, UL50, and ICP4 genes. This approach will facilitate future HSV virulence studies.
Primate neural retina upregulates IL-6 and IL-10 in response to a herpes simplex vector suggesting the presence of a pro-/anti-inflammatory axis
Exp Eye Res. 2016 Jul;148:12-23. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2016.05.003. Epub 2016 May 8.
Injection of herpes simplex virus vectors into the vitreous of primate eyes induces an acute, transient uveitis. The purpose of this study was to characterize innate immune responses of macaque neural retina tissue to the herpes simplex virus type 1-based gene delivery vector hrR3. PCR array analysis demonstrated the induction of the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-6, as well as the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10, following hrR3 exposure. Secretion of IL-6 was detected by ELISA and cone photoreceptors and Muller cells were the predominant IL-6 positive cell types. RNA in situ hybridization confirmed that IL-6 was expressed in photoreceptor and Muller cells. The IL-10 positive cells in the inner nuclear layer were identified as amacrine cells by immunofluorescence staining with calretinin antibody. hrR3 challenge resulted in activation of NFκB (p65) in Muller glial cells, but not in cone photoreceptors, suggesting a novel regulatory mechanism for IL-6 expression in cone cells. hrR3 replication was not required for IL-6 induction or NFκB (p65) activation. These data suggest a pro-inflammatory (IL-6)/anti-inflammatory (IL-10) axis exists in neural retina and the severity of acute posterior uveitis may be determined by this interaction. Further studies are needed to identify the trigger for IL-6 and IL-10 induction and the mechanism of IL-6 induction in cone cells.
Quantitative Trait Locus Based Virulence Determinant Mapping of the HSV-1 Genome in Murine Ocular Infection: Genes Involved in Viral Regulatory and Innate Immune Networks Contribute to Virulence
PLoS Pathog. 2016 Mar 10;12(3):e1005499. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1005499. eCollection 2016 Mar.
Herpes simplex virus type 1 causes mucocutaneous lesions, and is the leading cause of infectious blindness in the United States. Animal studies have shown that the severity of HSV-1 ocular disease is influenced by three main factors; innate immunity, host immune response and viral strain. We previously showed that mixed infection with two avirulent HSV-1 strains (OD4 and CJ994) resulted in recombinants that exhibit a range of disease phenotypes from severe to avirulent, suggesting epistatic interactions were involved. The goal of this study was to develop a quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis of HSV-1 ocular virulence determinants and to identify virulence associated SNPs. Blepharitis and stromal keratitis quantitative scores were characterized for 40 OD4:CJ994 recombinants. Viral titers in the eye were also measured. Virulence quantitative trait locus mapping (vQTLmap) was performed using the Lasso, Random Forest, and Ridge regression methods to identify significant phenotypically meaningful regions for each ocular disease parameter. The most predictive Ridge regression model identified several phenotypically meaningful SNPs for blepharitis and stromal keratitis. Notably, phenotypically meaningful nonsynonymous variations were detected in the UL24, UL29 (ICP8), UL41 (VHS), UL53 (gK), UL54 (ICP27), UL56, ICP4, US1 (ICP22), US3 and gG genes. Network analysis revealed that many of these variations were in HSV-1 regulatory networks and viral genes that affect innate immunity. Several genes previously implicated in virulence were identified, validating this approach, while other genes were novel. Several novel polymorphisms were also identified in these genes. This approach provides a framework that will be useful for identifying virulence genes in other pathogenic viruses, as well as epistatic effects that affect HSV-1 ocular virulence.
Recombination Analysis of Herpes Simplex Virus 1 Reveals a Bias toward GC Content and the Inverted Repeat Regions
J Virol. 2015 Jul;89(14):7214-23. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00880-15. Epub 2015 Apr 29.
Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) causes recurrent mucocutaneous ulcers and is the leading cause of infectious blindness and sporadic encephalitis in the United States. HSV-1 has been shown to be highly recombinogenic; however, to date, there has been no genome-wide analysis of recombination. To address this, we generated 40 HSV-1 recombinants derived from two parental strains, OD4 and CJ994. The 40 OD4-CJ994 HSV-1 recombinants were sequenced using the Illumina sequencing system, and recombination breakpoints were determined for each of the recombinants using the Bootscan program. Breakpoints occurring in the terminal inverted repeats were excluded from analysis to prevent double counting, resulting in a total of 272 breakpoints in the data set. By placing windows around the 272 breakpoints followed by Monte Carlo analysis comparing actual data to simulated data, we identified a recombination bias toward both high GC content and intergenic regions. A Monte Carlo analysis also suggested that recombination did not appear to be responsible for the generation of the spontaneous nucleotide mutations detected following sequencing. Additionally, kernel density estimation analysis across the genome found that the large, inverted repeats comprise a recombination hot spot.
IMPORTANCE: Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) virus is the leading cause of sporadic encephalitis and blinding keratitis in developed countries. HSV-1 has been shown to be highly recombinogenic, and recombination itself appears to be a significant component of genome replication. To date, there has been no genome-wide analysis of recombination. Here we present the findings of the first genome-wide study of recombination performed by generating and sequencing 40 HSV-1 recombinants derived from the OD4 and CJ994 parental strains, followed by bioinformatics analysis. Recombination breakpoints were determined, yielding 272 breakpoints in the full data set. Kernel density analysis determined that the large inverted repeats constitute a recombination hot spot. Additionally, Monte Carlo analyses found biases toward high GC content and intergenic and repetitive regions.
Genomic, phylogenetic, and recombinational characterization of herpes simplex virus 2 strains
J Virol. 2015 Jun;89(12):6427-34. doi: 10.1128/JVI.00416-15. Epub 2015 Apr 8.
Herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) is a major global pathogen, infecting 16% of people 15 to 49 years old worldwide and causing recurrent genital ulcers. Little is known about viral factors contributing to virulence, and there are currently only two genomic sequences available. In this study, we determined nearly complete genomic sequences of six additional HSV-2 isolates, using Illumina MiSeq. We report that HSV-2 has a genomic overall mean distance of 0.2355%, which is less than that of HSV-1. There were approximately 100 amino-acid-encoding and indels per genome. Microsatellite mapping found a bias toward intergenic regions in the nonconserved microsatellites and a genic bias in all detected tandem repeats. Extensive recombination between the HSV-2 strains was also strongly implied. This was the first study to analyze multiple HSV-2 sequences, and the data will be valuable in future evolutionary, virulence, and structure-function studies.
IMPORTANCE: HSV-2 is a significant worldwide pathogen, causing recurrent genital ulcers. Here we present six nearly complete HSV-2 genomic sequences, and, with the addition of two previously sequenced strains, for the first time genomic, phylogenetic, and recombination analysis was performed on multiple HSV-2 genomes. Our results show that microsatellite mapping found a bias toward intergenic regions in the nonconserved microsatellites and a genic bias in all detected tandem repeats and confirm that chimpanzee herpesvirus 1 (ChHV-1) is a separate species and that each of the HSV-2 strains is a genomic mosaic.
Peptide therapeutics for treating ocular surface infections
J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2014 Nov;30(9):691-9. doi: 10.1089/jop.2014.0089. Epub 2014 Sep 24.
Microbial pathogens-bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites-are significant causes of blindness, particularly in developing countries. For bacterial and some viral infections a number of antimicrobial drugs are available for therapy but there are fewer available for use in treating fungal and parasitic keratitis. There are also problems with current antimicrobials, such as limited efficacy and the presence of drug-resistant microbes. Thus, there is a need to develop additional drugs. Nature has given us an example of 1 potential source of new antimicrobials: antimicrobial peptides and proteins that are either present in bodily fluids and tissues constitutively or are induced upon infection. Given the nature of peptides, topical applications are the most likely use to be successful and this is ideal for treating keratitis. Such peptides would also be active against drug-resistant pathogens and might act synergistically if used in combination therapy. Hundreds of peptides with antimicrobial properties have been isolated or synthesized but only a handful have been tested against ocular pathogens and even fewer have been tested in animal models. This review summarizes the currently available information on the use of peptides to treat keratitis, outlines some of the problems that have been identified, and discusses future studies that will be needed. Most of the peptides that have been tested have shown activity at concentrations that do not warrant further development, but 1 or 2 have promising activity raising the possibility that peptides can be developed to treat keratitis.
Oligonucleotides designed to inhibit TLR9 block Herpes simplex virus type 1 infection at multiple steps
Antiviral Res. 2014 Sep;109:83-96. doi: 10.1016/j.antiviral.2014.06.015. Epub 2014 Jul 1.
Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) is an important human pathogen which requires activation of nuclear factor-kappa B (NFκB) during its replication cycle. The persistent nature of HSV-1 infection, and the emergence of drug-resistant strains, highlights the importance of research to develop new antiviral agents. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) play a prominent role during the early antiviral response by recognizing viral nucleic acid and gene products, activating NFκB, and stimulating the production of inflammatory cytokines. We demonstrate a significant effect on HSV-1 replication in ARPE-19 and Vero cells when oligonucleotides designed to inhibit TLR9 are added 2h prior to infection. A greater than 90% reduction in the yield of infectious virus was achieved at oligonucleotide concentrations of 10-20 μM. TLR9 inhibitory oligonucleotides prevented expression of essential immediate early herpes gene products as determined by immunofluorescence microscopy and Western blotting. TLR9 oligonucleotides also interfered with viral attachment and entry. A TLR9 inhibitory oligonucleotide containing five adjacent guanosine residues (G-ODN) exhibited virucidal activity and inhibited HSV-1 replication when added post-infection. The antiviral effect of the TLR9 inhibitory oligonucleotides did not depend on the presence of TLR9 protein, suggesting a mechanism of inhibition that is not TLR9 specific. TLR9 inhibitory oligonucleotides also reduced NFκB activity in nuclear extracts. Studies using these TLR inhibitors in the context of viral infection should be interpreted with caution.
Using HSV-1 genome phylogenetics to track past human migrations
PLoS One. 2013 Oct 16;8(10):e76267. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0076267. eCollection 2013.
We compared 31 complete and nearly complete globally derived HSV-1 genomic sequences using HSV-2 HG52 as an outgroup to investigate their phylogenetic relationships and look for evidence of recombination. The sequences were retrieved from NCBI and were then aligned using Clustal W. The generation of a maximum likelihood tree resulted in a six clade structure that corresponded with the timing and routes of past human migration. The East African derived viruses contained the greatest amount of genetic diversity and formed four of the six clades. The East Asian and European/North American derived viruses formed separate clades. HSV-1 strains E07, E22 and E03 were highly divergent and may each represent an individual clade. Possible recombination was analyzed by partitioning the alignment into 5 kb segments, performing individual phylogenetic analysis on each partition and generating a.phylogenetic network from the results. However most evidence for recombination spread at the base of the tree suggesting that recombination did not significantly disrupt the clade structure. Examination of previous estimates of HSV-1 mutation rates in conjunction with the phylogenetic data presented here, suggests that the substitution rate for HSV-1 is approximately 1.38 × 10(-7) subs/site/year. In conclusion, this study expands the previously described HSV-1 three clade phylogenetic structures to a minimum of six and shows that the clade structure also mirrors global human migrations. Given that HSV-1 has co-evolved with its host, sequencing HSV-1 isolated from various populations could serve as a surrogate biomarker to study human population structure and migration patterns.
A cationic peptide, TAT-Cd°, inhibits herpes simplex virus type 1 ocular infection in vivo
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2013 Feb 5;54(2):1070-9. doi: 10.1167/iovs.12-10250.
PURPOSE: To test the in vivo activity of a peptide derived from the protein transducing domain of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) Tat protein, TAT-Cd°, in a murine herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1) keratitis model.
METHODS: the efficacy of TAT-CD° was assessed in a postinfection treatment model with different concentrations (1 mg/mL, 0.1 mg/mL, 0.01 mg/mL) of the peptide in one of four delivery vehicles: artificial tears, PBS, methylcellulose, and aquaphor cream. Treatment began within 4 or 24 hours postinfection. Viral titers in the tear film were determined by plaque assay.
RESULTS: TAT-Cd° reduced the severity of keratitis in all of the delivery vehicles tested when treatment started, 4 hours postinfection. Peptide in the tears or PBS delivery vehicle had the most significant reduction in disease severity and delayed the onset of vascularization and stromal keratitis. The percentage of mice presenting with disease was also significantly reduced and viral titers were reduced by 1 log at 24 hours postinfection in mice treated with 1 mg/mL TAT-Cd°, suggesting that inhibiting replication early is sufficient to achieve clinical effects. Lower concentrations were not effective and delaying treatment by 24 hours was also not effective.
CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that TAT-Cd° is an effective antiviral against HSV-1 strain KOS when applied shortly postinfection and that aqueous-based formulations are more suitable.
Antiviral activity of the EB peptide against zoonotic poxviruses
Virol J. 2012 Jan 6;9:6. doi: 10.1186/1743-422X-9-6.
BACKGROUND: The EB peptide is a 20-mer that was previously shown to have broad spectrum in vitro activity against several unrelated viruses, including highly pathogenic avian influenza, herpes simplex virus type I, and vaccinia, the prototypic orthopoxvirus. To expand on this work, we evaluated EB for in vitro activity against the zoonotic orthopoxviruses cowpox and monkeypox and for in vivo activity in mice against vaccinia and cowpox.
FINDINGS: In yield reduction assays, EB had an EC50 of 26.7 μM against cowpox and 4.4 μM against monkeypox. The EC50 for plaque reduction was 26.3 μM against cowpox and 48.6 μM against monkeypox. A scrambled peptide had no inhibitory activity against either virus. EB inhibited cowpox in vitro by disrupting virus entry, as evidenced by a reduction of the release of virus cores into the cytoplasm. Monkeypox was also inhibited in vitro by EB, but at the attachment stage of infection. EB showed protective activity in mice infected intranasally with vaccinia when co-administered with the virus, but had no effect when administered prophylactically one day prior to infection or therapeutically one day post-infection. EB had no in vivo activity against cowpox in mice.
CONCLUSIONS: While EB did demonstrate some in vivo efficacy against vaccinia in mice, the limited conditions under which it was effective against vaccinia and lack of activity against cowpox suggest EB may be more useful for studying orthopoxvirus entry and attachment in vitro than as a therapeutic against orthopoxviruses in vivo.
Ocular distribution, spectrum of activity, and in vivo viral neutralization of a fully humanized anti-herpes simplex virus IgG Fab fragment following topical application
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2012 Mar;56(3):1390-402. doi: 10.1128/AAC.05145-11. Epub 2011 Dec 27.
Herpes simplex ocular infection is a major cause of corneal blindness. Local antiviral treatments exist but are associated with corneal toxicity, and resistance has become an issue. We evaluated the biodistribution and efficacy of a humanized anti-herpes simplex virus (anti-HSV) IgG FAb fragment (AC-8; 53 kDa) following repeated topical administration. AC-8 was found in the corneal epithelium, anterior stroma, subepithelial stromal cells, and retinal glial cells, with preferential entry through the ocular limbus. AC-8 was active against 13 different strains of HSV-1, with 50% and 90% mean effective concentrations (MEC(50) and MEC(90), respectively) ranging from 0.03 to 0.13 μg/ml, indicating broad-spectrum activity. The in vivo efficacy of AC-8 was evaluated in a mouse model of herpes-induced ocular disease. Treatment with low-dose AC-8 (1 mg/ml) slightly reduced the ocular disease scores. A greater reduction of the disease scores was observed in the 10-mg/ml AC-8-treated group, but not as much as with trifluridine (TFT). AC-8 treatment reduced viral titers but less than trifluridine. AC-8 did not display any toxicity to the cornea or other structures in the eye. In summary, topical instillation of an anti-HSV FAb can be used on both intact and ulcerated corneas. It is well tolerated and does not alter reepithelialization. Further studies to improve the antiviral effect are needed for AC-8 to be considered for therapeutic use.
Multiplex sequencing of seven ocular herpes simplex virus type-1 genomes: phylogeny, sequence variability, and SNP distribution
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2011 Nov 25;52(12):9061-73. doi: 10.1167/iovs.11-7812.
PURPOSE: Little is known about the role of sequence variation in the pathology of HSV-1 keratitis virus. The goal was to show that a multiplex, high-throughput genome-sequencing approach is feasible for simultaneously sequencing seven HSV-1 ocular strains.
METHODS: A genome sequencer was used to sequence the HSV-1 ocular isolates TFT401, 134, CJ311, CJ360, CJ394, CJ970, and OD4, in a single lane. Reads were mapped to the HSV-1 strain 17 reference genome by high-speed sequencing. ClustalW was used for alignment, and the Mega 4 package was used for phylogenetic analysis (www.megasoftware.net). Simplot was used to compare genetic variability and high-speed sequencing was used to identify SNPs (developed by Stuart Ray, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, http://sray.med.som.jhml.edu/SCRoftware/simplot).
RESULTS: Approximately 95% to 99% of the seven genomes were sequenced in a single lane with average coverage ranging from 224 to 1345. Phylogenetic analysis of the sequenced genome regions revealed at least three clades. Each strain had approximately 200 coding SNPs compared to strain 17, and these were evenly spaced along the genomes. Four genes were highly conserved, and six were more variable. Reduced coverage was obtained in the highly GC-rich terminal repeat regions.
CONCLUSIONS: Multiplex sequencing is a cost-effective way to obtain the genomic sequences of ocular HSV-1 isolates with sufficient coverage of the unique regions for genomic analysis. The number of SNPs and their distribution will be useful for analyzing the genetics of virulence, and the sequence data will be useful for studying HSV-1 evolution and for the design of structure-function studies.
Virus aggregating peptide enhances the cell-mediated response to influenza virus vaccine
Vaccine. 2011 Oct 13;29(44):7696-703. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.07.133. Epub 2011 Aug 10.
Given the poor immunogenicity of current H5N1 influenza vaccines, additives and adjuvants remain a viable solution for increasing efficacy. Here, we demonstrate that a 20-amino acid peptide (EB) possessing influenza antiviral activity also enhances the immune response to H5N1 vaccination in mice. The addition of EB to formalin-inactivated whole-virus vaccine induced virion aggregation and these aggregates were readily engulfed by phagocytic cells in vitro. In vivo, mice vaccinated with a suboptimal dose of inactivated vaccine containing EB peptide had reduced morbidity, improved viral clearance, and faster recovery than mice receiving vaccine alone. This phenomenon was not accompanied by an increase in virus-specific antibodies. Instead, cell-mediated immunity was enhanced as demonstrated by increased interferon-γ production from splenocytes. This data demonstrates that the EB peptide may a useful adjuvant for boosting the efficacy of poorly immunogenic influenza vaccines.
Sequence variation in the herpes simplex virus U(S)1 ocular virulence determinant
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2011 Jun 28;52(7):4630-8. doi: 10.1167/iovs.10-7032.
PURPOSE: The herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) U(S)1 gene encodes host-range and ocular virulence determinants. Mutations in U(S)1 affecting virulence are known in strain OD4, but the genomic variation across several strains is not known. The goal was to determine the degree of sequence variation in the gene from several ocular HSV isolates.
METHODS: The U(S)1 gene from six ocular HSV-1 isolates, as well as strains KOS and F, were sequenced, and bioinformatics analyses were applied to the data.
RESULTS: Strains 17, F, CJ394, and CJ311 had identical amino acid sequences. With the other strains, most of the variability was concentrated in the amino-terminal third of the protein. MEME analysis identified a 63-residue core sequence (motif 1) present in all α-herpesvirus U(S)1 homologs that were located in a region identified as structured. Ten amino acids were absolutely conserved in all the α-herpesvirus U(S)1 homologs and were all located in the central core. Consensus-binding motifs for cyclin-dependent kinases and pocket proteins were also identified.
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that significant sequence variation exists in the U(S)1 gene, that the α22 protein contains a conserved central core region with structurally variable regions at the amino- and carboxyl termini, that 10 amino acids are conserved in α-herpes U(S)1 homologs, and that additional host proteins may interact with the HSV-1 U(S)1 and U(S)1.5 proteins. This information will be valuable in designing further studies on structure-function relationships and on the role these play in host-range determination and keratitis.
Evaluation of therapeutic interventions for vaccinia virus keratitis
J Infect Dis. 2011 Mar 1;203(5):683-90. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jiq103. Epub 2011 Jan 28.
BACKGROUND: Vaccinia virus keratitis (VACVK) is a complication of smallpox vaccination that can result in blindness. There are no Food and Drug Administration-approved treatments for VACVK, and vaccinia immunoglobulin (VIG) is contraindicated in isolated VACVK. We used a rabbit model of infection to compare several therapeutic options for VACVK.
METHODS: Rabbit eyes were infected with 10(5) plaque-forming units of the Dryvax strain of vaccinia virus and scored daily for 28 days using a modified MacDonald-Shadduck scoring system. Animals were treated for 10 days after the onset of keratitis with albumin, VIG, prednisolone acetate, trifluridine, or combinations thereof. Ocular viral titers and vaccinia-specific antibody titers were determined by plaque assay and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, respectively.
RESULTS: Treatment with intravenous VIG neither exacerbated nor ameliorated VACVK. Topical prednisolone acetate interfered with viral clearance, and ocular disease rebounded in prednisolone-treated groups. The most effective treatment was topical trifluridine alone.
CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that (1) VIG did not negatively affect the treatment of isolated keratitis, (2) topical corticosteroids should not be used for treating VACVK, and (3) treatment with topical trifluridine, with or without intravenous VIG, is the preferred therapeutic regimen for treating VACVK.
Identification of the minimal active sequence of an anti-influenza virus peptide
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2011 Apr;55(4):1810-3. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01428-10. Epub 2011 Jan 10.
The antiviral peptide, entry blocker (EB), inhibits influenza virus replication by preventing attachment to cells. Here, we identified the minimal and optimal EB sequence that retained antiviral activity with a 50% inhibitory concentration (IC(50)) and 50% effective concentration (EC(50)) similar to those of the full-length EB peptide and several truncated variants that possessed up to 10-fold lower IC(50)s. These data have implications for improving the antiviral efficacy of EB-derived peptides while decreasing production costs and easing synthesis.
A cationic TAT peptide inhibits Herpes simplex virus type 1 infection of human corneal epithelial cells
J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2010 Dec;26(6):541-7. doi: 10.1089/jop.2010.0076. Epub 2010 Oct 28.
Abstract Purpose: To determine if a peptide, TAT-Cd(0), inhibits Herpes simplex virus type 1 infection of human corneal epithelial cells.
METHODS: TAT-Cd(0) and a control peptide, E(50,51)TAT-Cd(0), were added at various times throughout infection with the lacz-expressing hrR3 virus, and viral replication was measured by β-galactosidase activity. Toxicity was assessed using a dye reduction assay.
RESULTS: The CC(50) value for TAT-Cd(0) was ∼100 μM. In assays with peptide present at all times, TAT-Cd(0) was 150-fold more active than E(50,51)TAT-Cd(0) (EC(50) 0.2 vs. 30.0 μM). The EC(50) values of TAT-Cd(0) for entry inhibition, cell protection, virus inactivation, and inhibition of attachment were 0.1, 0.4, 9.5, and 3.0 μM, respectively. TAT-Cd(0) was less effective when added 1 h postinfection (EC(50) = 30.0 μM).
CONCLUSIONS: TAT-Cd(0) is an effective inhibitor of Herpes simplex virus type 1 infection in human corneal epithelial cells and affects multiple steps before, or very early, in infection. The peptide has potential as an antiviral and further studies are warranted.
The virucidal EB peptide protects host cells from herpes simplex virus type 1 infection in the presence of serum albumin and aggregates proteins in a detergent-like manner
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2010 Oct;54(10):4275-89. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00495-10. Epub 2010 Jul 19.
The linear cationic amphiphilic EB peptide, derived from the FGF4 signal sequence, was previously shown to be virucidal and to block herpes simplex type I (HSV-1) entry (H. Bultmann, J. S. Busse, and C. R. Brandt, J. Virol. 75:2634-2645, 2001). Here we show that cells treated with EB (RRKKAAVALLPAVLLALLAP) for less than 5 min are also protected from infection with HSV-1. Though protection was lost over a period of 5 to 8 h, it was reinduced as rapidly as during the initial treatment. Below a 20 μM concentration of EB, cells gained protection in a serum-dependent manner, requiring bovine serum albumin (BSA) as a cofactor. Above 40 μM, EB coprecipitated with BSA under hypotonic conditions. Coprecipitates retained antiviral activity and released active peptide. NaCl (≥0.3 M) blocked coprecipitation without interfering with antiviral activity. As shown for β-galactosidase, EB below 20 μM acted as an enzyme inhibitor, whereas above 40 to 100 μM EB, β-galactosidase was precipitated as was BSA or other unrelated proteins. Pyrene fluorescence spectroscopy revealed that in the course of protein aggregation, EB acted like a cationic surfactant and self associated in a process resembling micelle formation. Both antiviral activity and protein aggregation did not depend on stereospecific EB interactions but depended strongly on the sequence of the peptide's hydrophobic tail. EB resembles natural antimicrobial peptides, such as melittin, but when acting in a nonspecific detergent-like manner, it primarily seems to target proteins.
A quantitative rabbit model of vaccinia keratitis
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2010 Sep;51(9):4531-40. doi: 10.1167/iovs.09-5106. Epub 2010 Apr 7.
PURPOSE: The goal of this study was to use multiple quantitative disease measures to evaluate the effect of various viral inocula on the development of vaccinia keratitis in rabbits.
METHODS: Trephined eyes of female rabbits were infected with 10(4), 10(5), 10(6), or 10(7) plaque-forming units (pfu) of the Dryvax strain of the vaccinia virus and scored daily for disease for 14 days according to a modification of the MacDonald-Shadduck scoring system. Ocular viral titers and vaccinia-specific antibody titers were determined by plaque assay and ELISA, respectively.
RESULTS: The amount of virus used for infection affected the severity of disease, with 10(4) pfu eliciting milder keratitis after delayed onset compared with higher amounts of virus. At inocula above 10(5) pfu the course and severity of corneal disease was not significantly different. The time to reach peak titers was delayed in the 10(4) group but peak titers were similar in all groups. Severe conjunctival chemosis interfered with scoring in animals infected with 10(6) or 10(7) pfu. Virus-specific antibody titers were similar in all groups at day 14. Body weights decreased less than 10% in all groups.
CONCLUSIONS: The course of vaccinia keratitis in rabbits paralleled that in humans. A viral inoculum of 10(5) pfu/eye was determined to be optimal for use in further studies of vaccinia keratitis.
Kinetics of immune cell infiltration in vaccinia virus keratitis
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2010 Sep;51(9):4541-8. doi: 10.1167/iovs.09-5107. Epub 2010 Apr 7.
PURPOSE: Vaccinia virus keratitis leading to blindness is a severe complication of smallpox vaccination. The clinical manifestations of vaccinia virus keratitis are similar to those of herpes simplex virus keratitis, a well-studied immunopathologic disease. Vaccinia virus keratitis is likely to involve an immunopathologic component, but little is known about the pathogenesis of the disease. The goal of this study was to determine type and kinetics of immune cell infiltration in the cornea during vaccinia virus keratitis.
METHODS: Rabbit eyes were trephined and inoculated with 1x10(5) pfu of the Dryvax strain of the vaccinia virus. On days 2, 4, 7, 10, 14, and 28 after infection, the animals were scored for clinical disease and eye sections were stained for B cells, CD4+ cells, CD8+ cells, and neutrophils. The eyelid, ciliary body, cornea, iris, iridocorneal angle, and choroid were examined.
RESULTS: Corneal vaccinia virus challenge resulted in the infiltration of B cells, CD4+ cells, CD8+ cells, and neutrophils into the cornea and eyelids. Neutrophils were the predominant cell type on days 2 and 3 after infection, whereas CD4+ cells were the predominant cell type detected in corneas on days 4 through 10. CD8+ cells and B cells peaked on day 10, but at lower levels than CD4+ cells and neutrophils.
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that sequential migration of neutrophils, then CD4+ cells, plays an important role in vaccinia virus keratitis.
COCH transgene expression in cultured human trabecular meshwork cells and its effect on outflow facility in monkey organ cultured anterior segments
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2010 Apr;51(4):2060-6. doi: 10.1167/iovs.09-4521. Epub 2009 Nov 20.
Purpose. To determine the effects of COCH transgene expression on cultured human trabecular meshwork (HTM) cell morphology and on outflow facility (OF) in monkey organ cultured anterior segments (MOCAS). Methods. An adenoviral (Ad) vector expressing both cochlin (COCH) and green fluorescent protein (GFP) (AdCOCHGFP) or GFP alone (AdGFP) was used to transduce cultured HTM cells (multiplicity of transduction, 2.8 and 28). COCH transgene expression in transduced HTM cells and the culture medium was verified by Western blot analysis and immunofluorescence detection 5 days after transduction. MOCAS were used to test the effect of Ad vectors (2.8 x 10(10) viral particles per segment) on OF. The morphology of transduced MOCAS was evaluated by light microscopy. Results. Western blot analysis showed a viral vector dose-dependent expression of cochlin in transduced cells and the culture medium. There was no notable morphologic change in transduced cells. In MOCAS, cochlin expression was detectable in the medium by 3 days after transduction. A 35% decrease in OF in AdCOCHGFP-transduced MOCAS was detected after 3 days, decreasing by 76% after 12 days when compared to control segments injected with AdGFP. Anterior segment pressure (ASP) more than doubled (P < 0.05) in segments injected with AdCOCHGFP at 12 days after transduction. Light microscopy revealed normal angle structures in transduced segments. Conclusions. Ad vector delivery of the COCH transgene resulted in cochlin expression in HTM cells and MOCAS. Cochlin expression was effective in decreasing OF and increasing ASP in MOCAS, suggesting possible involvement of cochlin in IOP elevation in vivo. COCH gene delivery has potential for use in developing a glaucoma model.
Gene therapy targeting glaucoma: where are we?
Surv Ophthalmol. 2009 Jul-Aug;54(4):472-86. doi: 10.1016/j.survophthal.2009.04.003.
In a chronic disease such as glaucoma, a therapy that provides a long lasting local effect with minimal systemic side effects, while circumventing the issue of patient compliance, is very attractive. The field of gene therapy is growing rapidly and ocular applications are expanding. Our understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of glaucoma is leading to greater specificity in ocular tissue targeting. Improvements in gene delivery techniques, refinement of vector construction methods, and development of better animal models combine to bring this potential therapy closer to reality.
Multiple peptides homologous to herpes simplex virus type 1 glycoprotein B inhibit viral infection
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2009 Mar;53(3):987-96. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00793-08. Epub 2008 Dec 22.
The 773-residue ectodomain of the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) glycoprotein B (gB) has been resistant to the use of mutagenic strategies because the majority of the induced mutations result in defective proteins. As an alternative strategy for the identification of functionally important regions and novel inhibitors of infection, we prepared a library of overlapping peptides homologous to the ectodomain of gB and screened for the ability of the peptides to block infection. Seven of 138 15-mer peptides inhibited infection by more than 50% at a concentration of 100 microM. Three peptides (gB94, gB122, and gB131) with 50% effective concentrations (EC(50)s) below 20 microM were selected for further studies. The gB131 peptide (residues 681 to 695 in HSV-1 gB [gB-1]) was a specific entry inhibitor (EC(50), approximately 12 microM). The gB122 peptide (residues 636 to 650 in gB-1) blocked viral entry (EC(50), approximately 18 microM), protected cells from infection (EC(50), approximately 72 microM), and inactivated virions in solution (EC(50), approximately 138 microM). We were unable to discern the step or steps inhibited by the gB94 peptide, which is homologous to residues 496 to 510 in gB-1. Substitution of a tyrosine in the gB122 peptide (Y640 in full-length gB-1) reduced the antiviral activity eightfold, suggesting that this residue is critical for inhibition. This peptide-based strategy could lead to the identification of functionally important regions of gB or other membrane proteins and identify novel inhibitors of HSV-1 entry.
H-1152 effects on intraocular pressure and trabecular meshwork morphology of rat eyes
J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2008 Aug;24(4):373-9. doi: 10.1089/jop.2008.0029.
PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to elucidate the effects of the Rho-kinase inhibitor, H-1152, on cultured human trabecular meshwork (HTM) cells, TM morphology, and intraocular pressure (IOP) in rats.
METHODS: Cultured HTM cells were treated with H-1152. Changes in cell morphology and the organization of the actin cytoskeleton and focal adhesions were evaluated by microscopy and immunofluorescence. H-1152 was administered topically to the eyes of conscious rats, and IOP was measured with a commercially available tonometer before and after treatment. The eyes were enucleated 1 h after treatment, fixed, and processed for morphologic analysis by light and electron microscopy.
RESULTS: Exposure of the cultured HTM cells to 20 microM of H-1152 induced elongation and separation of cells, deterioration, and loss of actin stress fibers and focal adhesions within 2 h. Topical administration of H-1152 resulted in a significant decrease in IOP from 0.5 to 6 h, with the maximum IOP reduction of 28.1% at 1 h post-treatment (P < 0.001; n = 10). H-1152 caused an expansion of the intercellular spaces and loss of extracellular material in the juxtacanalicular region of the TM in rat eyes.
CONCLUSIONS: The IOP-lowering effect of H-1152 in rat eyes is likely due to changes in TM-cell morphology, the actin cytoskeleton, and cellular adhesions in the conventional outflow pathway. H-1152 has potential as a new antiglaucoma medication.
Inhibition of herpes simplex virus type 1 infection by cationic beta-peptides
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2008 Jun;52(6):2120-9. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01424-07. Epub 2008 Apr 7.
Previously, it was shown that cationic alpha-peptides derived from the human immunodeficiency virus TAT protein transduction domain blocked herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) entry. We now show that cationic oligomers of beta-amino acids ("beta-peptides") inhibit HSV-1 infection. Among three cationic beta-peptides tested, the most effective inhibition was observed for the one with a strong propensity to adopt a helical conformation in which cationic and hydrophobic residues are segregated from one another ("globally amphiphilic helix"). The antiviral effect was not cell type specific. Inhibition of virus infection by the beta-peptides occurred at the postattachment penetration step, with a 50% effective concentration of 3 muM for the most-effective beta-peptide. The beta-peptides did not inactivate virions in solution, nor did they induce resistance to infection when cells were pretreated with the beta-peptides. The beta-peptides showed little if any toxicity toward Vero cells. These results raise the possibility that cationic beta-peptides may be useful antiviral agents for HSV-1 and demonstrate the potential of beta-peptides as novel antiviral drugs.
Induction of interleukin-6 in human retinal epithelial cells by an attenuated Herpes simplex virus vector requires viral replication and NFkappaB activation
Exp Eye Res. 2008 Feb;86(2):178-88. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2007.10.008. Epub 2007 Dec 3.
Gene delivery has potential for treating ocular disease and a number of delivery systems have been tested in animal models. However, several viral vectors have been shown to trigger undesirable transient inflammatory responses in the eye. Previously, it was shown that an attenuated Herpes simplex virus vector (hrR3) transduced numerous cell types in the anterior and posterior segments of monkey eyes, but this was accompanied by inflammation. In the retina, retinal pigment epithelial cells were the predominant cell type transduced by hrR3. IL-6 is an important pro-inflammatory cytokine and may play a role in the response to the hrR3 vector. Infection of human ARPE-19 cells with hrR3 resulted in increased IL-6 expression and secretion 3-4h post-infection. In the presence of acyclovir (70 microM) or in cells infected with UV-inactivated hrR3, IL-6 was not up-regulated indicating viral replication was required. Expression of the HSV-1 alpha and beta genes may be necessary but was not sufficient for NF-kappaB activation and IL-6 up-regulation. The translocation of NF-kappaB into the nucleus also occurred between 3 and 4h post-infection, coincident with increased IL-6 expression. Inhibition of NF-kappaB translocation by an Adenovirus vector expressing a dominant negative IkappaB (AdIkappaBam) inhibited IL-6 up-regulation, indicating that NF-kappaB plays a role in increasing IL-6 expression in APRE-19 cells. The hrR3 virus lacks viral ribonucleotide reductase (RR) activity, thus RR is not required for NF-kappaB activation or IL-6 up-regulation in ARPE-19 cells.
Evaluation of a theta-defensin in a Murine model of herpes simplex virus type 1 keratitis
Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2007 Nov;48(11):5118-24. doi: 10.1167/iovs.07-0302.
PURPOSE: To test the activity of a synthetic theta-defensin, retrocyclin (RC)-2, in a murine herpes simplex virus (HSV)-1 keratitis model.
METHODS: The in vitro antiviral activity of RC-2 against HSV-1 KOS was determined by yield reduction and viral inactivation assays. Efficacy in an experimental murine HSV-1 keratitis model was tested using pre- or postinfection treatment with 0.1% peptide in PBS with or without 2% methylcellulose. Viral titers in the tear film were determined by plaque assay.
RESULTS: RC-2 inhibited HSV-1 KOS in vitro with an EC(50) of 10 microM (~20 microg/mL) in yield-reduction assays, but was not directly virucidal. RC-106 (a less active analogue) did not inhibit HSV-1 KOS in culture. Incubating the virus with RC-2 or applying the peptide in 2% methylcellulose to the cornea before viral infection significantly reduced the severity of ocular disease, but postinfection treatment with 0.1% RC-2 in PBS with or without 2% methylcellulose did not. Viral titers were significantly reduced on some days after infection in the preincubation and prophylaxis groups.
CONCLUSIONS: RC-2 was active against HSV-1 KOS in cultures and showed protective activity in vivo when used in a prophylactic mode, but the peptide showed limited activity in a postinfection herpes keratitis model. These findings support data obtained from experiments with HIV-1, HSV-2, and influenza A, indicating that RCs inhibit the entry of viruses rather than their replication.
Ocular drug delivery: molecules, cells, and genes
Can J Ophthalmol. 2007 Jun;42(3):447-54.
Recent advances in molecular cell biology have led to the exploration of new therapies based on molecules, cells, and genes to treat a variety of ocular disorders. In this review, we present the current state of knowledge pertaining to the development of different delivery systems to mediate safe and long-lived therapies, with an emphasis on gene therapy. The advantages and limitations of these delivery and therapeutic methods are also discussed.
Addition of a C-terminal cysteine improves the anti-herpes simplex virus activity of a peptide containing the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 TAT protein transduction domain
Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 May;51(5):1596-607. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01009-06. Epub 2007 Jan 29.
Previous studies have shown that peptides containing the protein transduction domain (PTD) of the human immunodeficiency virus tat protein (GRKKRRQRRR) were effective inhibitors of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) entry (H. Bultmann and C. R. Brandt, J. Biol. Chem. 277:36018-36023, 2002). We now show that the addition of a single cysteine residue to the C terminus of the TAT PTD (TAT-C peptide) improves the antiviral activity against HSV-1 and HSV-2. The principle effect of adding the cysteine was to enable the peptide to inactivate virions and to induce a state of resistance to infection in cells pretreated with peptide. The TAT-C peptide acted extracellularly, immediately blocked entry of adsorbed virus, prevented VP16 translocation to the nucleus, and blocked syncytium formation and cell-cell spread. Thus, TAT-C peptides are fusion inhibitors. The induction of the resistance of cells to infection was rapid, recovered with a half-life of 5 to 6 h, and could be reinduced by peptide treatment. TAT-C bound to heparan sulfate but was a poor competitor for viral attachment. The antiviral activity depended on the net positive charge of the peptide but not on chirality, and a free sulfhydryl group was not essential for antiviral activity because TAT-C dimers were at least as effective as monomers. The unique combination of antiviral activities and low toxicity combine to make TAT-C a strong candidate for further development as a drug to block HSV infection.
Sialic acid on herpes simplex virus type 1 envelope glycoproteins is required for efficient infection of cells
J Virol. 2007 Apr;81(8):3731-9. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02250-06. Epub 2007 Jan 17.
Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) envelope proteins are posttranslationally modified by the addition of sialic acids to the termini of the glycan side chains. Although gC, gD, and gH are sialylated, it is not known whether sialic acids on these envelope proteins are functionally important. Digestion of sucrose gradient purified virions for 4 h with neuraminidases that remove both alpha2,3 and alpha2,6 linked sialic acids reduced titers by 1,000-fold. Digestion with a alpha2,3-specific neuraminidase had no effect, suggesting that alpha2,6-linked sialic acids are required for infection. Lectins specific for either alpha2,3 or alpha2,6 linkages blocked attachment and infection to the same extent. In addition, the mobility of gH, gB, and gD in sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis gels was altered by digestion with either alpha2,3 specific neuraminidase or nonspecific neuraminidases, indicating the presence of both linkages on these proteins. The infectivity of a gC-1-null virus, DeltagC2-3, was reduced to the same extent as wild-type virus after neuraminidase digestion, and attachment was not altered. Neuraminidase digestion of virions resulted in reduced VP16 translocation to the nucleus, suggesting that the block occurred between attachment and entry. These results show for the first time that sialic acids on HSV-1 virions play an important role in infection and suggest that targeting virion sialic acids may be a valid antiviral drug development strategy.
Inhibition of influenza virus infection by a novel antiviral peptide that targets viral attachment to cells
J Virol. 2006 Dec;80(24):11960-7. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01678-06. Epub 2006 Sep 27.
Influenza A viruses continue to cause widespread morbidity and mortality. There is an added concern that the highly pathogenic H5N1 influenza A viruses, currently found throughout many parts of the world, represent a serious public health threat and may result in a pandemic. Intervention strategies to halt an influenza epidemic or pandemic are a high priority, with an emphasis on vaccines and antiviral drugs. In these studies, we demonstrate that a 20-amino-acid peptide (EB, for entry blocker) derived from the signal sequence of fibroblast growth factor 4 exhibits broad-spectrum antiviral activity against influenza viruses including the H5N1 subtype in vitro. The EB peptide was protective in vivo, even when administered postinfection. Mechanistically, the EB peptide inhibits the attachment to the cellular receptor, preventing infection. Further studies demonstrated that the EB peptide specifically binds to the viral hemagglutinin protein. This novel peptide has potential value as a reagent to study virus attachment and as a future therapeutic.
Corneal toxicity of cell-penetrating peptides that inhibit Herpes simplex virus entry
J Ocul Pharmacol Ther. 2006 Aug;22(4):279-89. doi: 10.1089/jop.2006.22.279.
Cell-penetrating peptides (CPPs) inhibit Herpes simplex virus entry at low micromolar concentrations and may be useful either as prophylactic or therapeutic agents for herpetic keratitis. The aim of this study was to assess the in vitro and in vivo toxicity of three CPPs-EB, TAT-C, and HOM (penetratin)-for the cornea. Incubation of primary (HK320) or immortalized (THK320) human keratocytes with the EB peptide (up to 100 microM), bHOMd (up to 200 microM), or TAT-C (up to 400 microM) resulted in no evidence of toxicity using a formazan dye-reduction assay. Similar results were obtained with a human trabecular meshwork cell line (TM-1), primary human foreskin fibroblasts (DP-9), Vero, and HeLa cells with EB and TATC. The bHOMd peptide showed some toxicity in Vero and HeLa cells, with CC50 values of 70 and 93 microM, respectively. The EB peptide did not inhibit macromolecular synthesis in Vero cells at concentrations below 150 microM, although cell proliferation was blocked at concentrations of EB above 50 microM. In vivo toxicity was assessed by applying peptides in Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium to the cornea 4 times daily for 7 d. At concentrations 1000 times the IC50 values, the EB and bHOM peptides showed no toxicity, whereas TAT-C caused some mild eyelid swelling. Some slight epithelial cell sloughing was seen with the bKLA peptide in vivo. These results suggest that these CPPs-and EB in particular-have a favorable toxicity profile, and that further development is warranted.
The effect of C3 transgene expression on actin and cellular adhesions in cultured human trabecular meshwork cells and on outflow facility in organ cultured monkey eyes
Mol Vis. 2005 Dec 13;11:1112-21.
PURPOSE: To determine the effects of adenovirus-delivered exoenzyme C3 transferase (C3) gene expression on cultured human trabecular meshwork (HTM) cells and on outflow facility in organ cultured monkey anterior segments.
METHODS: An adenoviral (Ad) vector expressing both C3 and green fluorescent protein (GFP) was used to transduce cultured HTM cells. Changes in cell morphology and the organization of actin, vinculin, and beta-catenin were assessed using immunofluorescence. Cultured monkey eye anterior segments were used to test the effects of AdC3GFP on outflow facility.
RESULTS: Treatment of HTM cells with AdC3GFP resulted in dose-dependent morphological changes 3 or 4 days post-transduction. The AdC3GFP-transduced cells were either partially retracted, rounded, or very elongated compared to non-transduced cells. Compared to AdGFP-transduced cells, AdC3GFP-transduced cells demonstrated disrupted actin cytoskeleton, reduced vinculin-positive focal adhesions, and loss of beta-catenin staining. Cells transduced with AdGFP did not round up or retract. In organ culture studies, outflow facility was increased by 90+/-21% (n=15, p<0.001) in AdC3GFP-transduced eyes compared to baseline and corrected for AdGFP-transduced control eye washout on days 3-6 after transduction.
CONCLUSIONS: C3 transduction is effective in disrupting actin filaments, cytoskeleton, and cellular adhesions in HTM cells and in increasing outflow facility in organ cultured monkey anterior segments, suggesting that expressing the C3 gene in the trabecular meshwork may be an effective approach for glaucoma therapy.
The role of viral and host genes in corneal infection with herpes simplex virus type 1
Exp Eye Res. 2005 May;80(5):607-21. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2004.09.007.
Herpes simplex virus infection of the eye is the leading cause of blindness due to infection in the US despite the availability of several antiviral drugs. Studies with animal models have shown that three factors, innate host resistance, the host adaptive immune response, and the strain of virus interact to determine whether an infection is asymptomatic or proceeds to the development of blinding keratitis (HSK). Of these, the role of adaptive immunity has received the most attention. This work has clearly shown that stromal keratitis is an immunopathological disease, most likely due to the induction of a delayed type hypersensitivity response. Substantially less is known about the role of specific host genes in resistance to HSK. The fact that different strains of virus display different disease phenotypes indicates that viral 'virulence' genes are critical. Of the 80 plus HSV genes, few have been formally tested for their role in HSV keratitis. Most studies of virulence genes to date have focused on a single gene or protein and large changes in disease phenotypes are usually measured. Large changes in the ability to cause disease are likely to reduce the fitness of the virus, thus such studies, although useful, do not mimic the natural situation. Viral gene products are known to interact with each other, and with host proteins and these interactions are critical in determining the outcome of infection. In reality, the 'constellation' of genes encoded by each particular strain is critical, and how this constellation of genes works together and with host proteins determines the outcome of an infection. The goal of this review is to discuss the current state of knowledge regarding the role of host and viral genes in HSV keratitis. The roles of specific genes that have been shown to influence keratitis are discussed. Recent data showing that different viral genes cooperate to influence disease severity and confirming that the constellation of genes within a particular strain determines the disease phenotype are also discussed, as are the methods used to test the role of viral genes in virulence. It will become apparent that there is a paucity of information regarding the function of many viral genes in keratitis. Improving our knowledge of the role of viral genes is critical for devising more effective treatments for this disease.
Evaluation of the antitumor effects of Herpes simplex virus lacking ribonucleotide reductase in a murine retinoblastoma model
Curr Eye Res. 2004 Aug-Sep;29(2-3):167-72. doi: 10.1080/02713680490504894.
PURPOSE: To determine if an attenuated herpes simplex virus (HSV) lacking the large subunit of ribonucleotide reductase has antitumor effects in a transgenic mouse model of retinoblastoma (LHbetaTAg).
METHODS: LHbetaTAg mice were injected ocularly with 1 x 10(6) pfu of the hrR3 virus and tumor sizes were measured 3 weeks later. Replication of the virus in the eye and cultured murine retinoblastoma cells was tested by titration. Distribution of the virus in tumor was measured by X-gal staining.
RESULTS: Intraocular injection of mice with hrR3 (n = 24) did not result in a significant reduction in tumor size compared to uninjected (n = 24) or PBS injected controls (n = 16). Neither the hrR3, nor the HSV RE6 mutant, which was previously shown to have antitumor effects in vivo, replicated in cultured murine tumor cells in vitro, compared to wild-type HSV. The hrR3 virus also did not replicate significantly in tumor cells in vivo, compared to normal eye tissue.
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that mutant HSV lacking ribonucleotide reductase do not display oncolytic activity in the LHbetaTAg mouse and that this model may not be suitable for studying viral oncolysis as a therapy for retinoblastoma.
Cytokine induced apoptosis in human retinoblastoma cells
Mol Vis. 2004 Apr 22;10:315-22.
PURPOSE: To determine potential anti-proliferative properties of interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF-alpha) on human retinoblastoma cells.
METHODS: Fluorescent antibody staining was used to detect IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha receptors on the cells. Y79 and Weri Rb-1 cells were exposed to IFN-gamma alone, TNF-alpha alone, or a combination of IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha, and apoptosis was measured by caspase 3 activation and annexin V staining. Cell cycle arrest was measured by BrdU incorporation and FACS analysis.
RESULTS: Both cell lines expressed receptors for IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha. There appeared to be two populations of both receptors in the Weri Rb-1 cell line. Apoptosis was induced in Y79 cells by IFN-gamma, but not TNF-alpha, and the combination of the cytokines did not increase apoptosis above IFN-gamma alone in Y79 cells. Apoptosis was induced in Weri Rb-1 cells only upon exposure to both cytokines. The cell cycle was not significantly altered in either cell line.
CONCLUSIONS: Human retinoblastoma cells respond to IFN-gamma or a combination of IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha by becoming apoptotic, but Y79 and Weri Rb-1 cells behave differently. The differential response of the two cell lines is not due to a lack of expression of IFN-gamma or TNF-alpha receptors. The data raise the possibility that differences in apoptotic pathways exist between the two cell lines with interesting implications for the induction of apoptosis as a therapy for retinoblastoma.
Enhanced isolation of low frequency herpes simplex virus recombinants using green-fluorescent protein and FACS
J Virol Methods. 2004 Jan;115(1):73-81. doi: 10.1016/j.jviromet.2003.09.017.
The generation of recombinant herpes simplex virus to study the effect of engineered mutations on viral biology relies on the isolation of recombinants from a mixed population of viruses following a marker transfer procedure. Currently, the E. coli lacZ or green-fluorescent protein (GFP) genes are most frequently used as markers for isolation and isolation of recombinants relies on visual screening of plaques. Alternatively, novel restriction site changes can be inserted into a gene followed by screening of individual plaques for the novel change. These methods are inefficient when the frequency of recombinants in the pool of viruses is low. Using GFP as a selection marker, a FACS procedure that results in a substantial enrichment of the frequency of recombinants is described. Cells were infected at a multiplicity of infection (MOI) of 1.0 in the presence of acyclovir and at 10h post-infection, either the GFP+ or GFP- cells were sorted by FACS, and the sorted cells were plated on fresh cells. After three rounds of selection, the frequency of GFP+ recombinants rose from 0.1 to 3-4%. A mutant virus with a GFP insertion in the US1 gene (alpha22 protein) was generated and then used to isolate a virus with a mutation, Y116C, in the alpha22 protein.