Doctor of Philosophy, National Defense Medical Center (2014)
Despite tremendous efforts to improve the methodology for constructing flavivirus infectious cDNAs, the manipulation of flavivirus cDNAs remains a difficult task in bacteria. Here, we successfully propagated DNA-launched type 2 dengue virus (DENV2) and Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) infectious cDNAs by introducing seven repeats of the tetracycline-response element (7XTRE) and a minimal cytomegalovirus (CMVmin) promoter upstream of the viral genome. Insertion of the 7XTRE-CMVmin sequence upstream of the DENV2 or JEV genome decreased the cryptic E. coli promoter (ECP) activity of the viral genome in bacteria, as measured using fusion constructs containing DENV2 or JEV segments and the reporter gene Renilla luciferase in an empty vector. The growth kinetics of recombinant viruses derived from DNA-launched DENV2 and JEV infectious cDNAs were similar to those of parental viruses. Similarly, RNA-launched DENV2 infectious cDNAs were generated by inserting 7XTRE-CMVmin, five repeats of the GAL4 upstream activating sequence (5XGAL4), or five repeats of BamHI linkers (5XBamHI) upstream of the DENV2 genome. All three tandem repeat sequences decreased the ECP activity of the DENV2 genome in bacteria. Notably 7XTRE-CMVmin stabilized RNA-launched JEV infectious cDNAs and reduced the ECP activity of the JEV genome in bacteria. The growth kinetics of recombinant viruses derived from RNA-launched DENV2 and JEV infectious cDNAs displayed patterns similar to those of the parental viruses. These results support a novel methodology for constructing flavivirus infectious cDNAs, which will facilitate research in virology, viral pathogenesis, and vaccine development of flaviviruses and other RNA viruses.
View details for DOI 10.1099/vir.0.064915-0
View details for PubMedID 24728712
Dengue virus (DENV) is a public health threat to approximately 40% of the global population. At present, neither licensed vaccines nor effective therapies exist, and the mechanism of viral RNA replication is not well understood. Here, we report the development of efficient Renilla luciferase reporter-based DENV replicons that contain the full-length capsid sequence for transient and stable DENV RNA replication. A comparison of the transient and stable expression of this RNA-launched replicon to replicons containing various deletions revealed dengue replicon containing entire mature capsid RNA element has higher replicon activity. An efficient DNA-launched DENV replicon, pCMV-DV2Rep, containing a full-length capsid sequence, was created and successfully applied to evaluate the potency of known DENV inhibitors. Stable cell lines harboring the DENV replicon were easily established by transfecting pCMV-DV2Rep into BHK21 cells. Steady and high replicon reporter signals were observed in the stable DENV replicon cells, even after 30 passages. The stable DENV replicon cells were successfully used to determine the potency of known DENV inhibitors. A high-throughput screening assay based on stable DENV replicon cells was evaluated and shown to have an excellent Z' factor of 0.74. Altogether, the development of our efficient DENV replicon system will facilitate the study of virus replication and the discovery of antiviral compounds.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.antiviral.2013.03.001
View details for Web of Science ID 000319711900011
View details for PubMedID 23499649
Epigenetic machinery regulates the expression of individual genes and plays a crucial role in globally shaping and maintaining developmental patterning. We studied the extent of DNA methylation in the nucleus, mitochondrion and chloroplast in cultured Sequoia sempervirens (coast redwood) adult, juvenile and rejuvenated shoots by measuring the ratio of methylcytosine to total cytosine using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). We also analyzed nuclear DNA (nuDNA) polymorphisms of different shoot types by methylation-sensitive amplified fragment length polymorphism (MSAP) and Southern blot analysis. The extent of nuDNA methylation was greater in the adult vegetative than juvenile and rejuvenated shoots (8% vs 6.5-7.5%). In contrast, the proportion of methylcytosine was higher in mitochondrial DNA (mDNA) of juvenile and rejuvenated shoots than adult shoots (6.6% vs 7.8-8.2%). MSAP and Southern blot analyses identified three MSAP fragments which could be applied as phase-specific molecular markers. We also found nuclear genome and mtDNA rearrangement may be as important as DNA methylation status during the phase change. Our findings strongly suggest that DNA methylation and genome rearrangement may affect the dynamic tissue- and cell type-specific changes that determine the developmental phase of S. sempervirens shoots.
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1399-3054.2012.01606.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000303798500009
View details for PubMedID 22380594
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a global health problem, affecting approximately 3% of the world's population. The standard treatment for HCV infection is often poorly tolerated and ineffective. Therefore, the development of novel or more effective treatment strategies to treat chronic HCV infection is urgently needed. In this report, BP008, a potent small-molecule inhibitor of HCV replication, was developed from a class of compounds with thiazol core structures by means of utilizing a cell-based HCV replicon system. The compound reduced the reporter expression of the HCV1b replicon with a 50% effective concentration (EC(50)) and selective index value of 4.1 ± 0.7 nM and >12,195, respectively. Sequencing analyses of several individual clones derived from BP008-resistant RNAs purified from cells harboring HCV1b replicon revealed that amino acid substitutions mainly within the N-terminal region (domain I) of NS5A were associated with decreased inhibitor susceptibility. Q24L, P58S, and Y93H are the key substitutions for resistance selection; F149L and V153M play the compensatory role in the replication and drug resistance processes. Moreover, BP008 displayed synergistic effects with alpha interferon (IFN-α), NS3 protease inhibitor, and NS5B polymerase inhibitor, as well as good oral bioavailability in SD rats and favorable exposure in rat liver. In summary, our results pointed to an effective small-molecule inhibitor, BP008, that potentially targets HCV NS5A. BP008 can be considered a part of a more effective therapeutic strategy for HCV in the future.
View details for DOI 10.1128/AAC.00599-11
View details for Web of Science ID 000298404900006
View details for PubMedID 22006008
Reverse genetics is a powerful tool to study single-stranded RNA viruses. Despite tremendous efforts having been made to improve the methodology for constructing flavivirus cDNAs, the cause of toxicity of flavivirus cDNAs in bacteria remains unknown. Here we performed mutational analysis studies to identify Escherichia coli promoter (ECP) sequences within nucleotides (nt) 1 to 3000 of the dengue virus type 2 (DENV2) and Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) genomes. Eight and four active ECPs were demonstrated within nt 1 to 3000 of the DENV2 and JEV genomes, respectively, using fusion constructs containing DENV2 or JEV segments and empty vector reporter gene Renilla luciferase. Full-length DENV2 and JEV cDNAs were obtained by inserting mutations reducing their ECP activity in bacteria without altering amino acid sequences. A severe cytopathic effect occurred when BHK21 cells were transfected with in vitro-transcribed RNAs from either a DENV2 cDNA clone with multiple silent mutations within the prM-E-NS1 region of dengue genome or a JEV cDNA clone with an A-to-C mutation at nt 90 of the JEV genome. The virions derived from the DENV2 or JEV cDNA clone exhibited infectivities similar to those of their parental viruses in C6/36 and BHK21 cells. A cis-acting element essential for virus replication was revealed by introducing silent mutations into the central portion (nt 160 to 243) of the core gene of DENV2 infectious cDNA or a subgenomic DENV2 replicon clone. This novel strategy of constructing DENV2 and JEV infectious clones could be applied to other flaviviruses or pathogenic RNA viruses to facilitate research in virology, viral pathogenesis, and vaccine development.
View details for DOI 10.1128/JVI.01986-10
View details for Web of Science ID 000288386500043
View details for PubMedID 21228244
Yeast two-hybrid screens led to the identification of Ubc9 and PIASy, the E2 and E3 small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO)-conjugating enzymes, as proteins interacting with the capsid (CA) protein of the Moloney murine leukemia virus. The binding site in CA for Ubc9 was mapped by deletion and alanine-scanning mutagenesis to a consensus motif for SUMOylation at residues 202 to 220, and the binding site for PIASy was mapped to residues 114 to 176, directly centered on the major homology region. Expression of CA and a tagged SUMO-1 protein resulted in covalent transfer of SUMO-1 to CA in vivo. Mutations of lysine residues to arginines near the Ubc9 binding site and mutations at the PIASy binding site reduced or eliminated CA SUMOylation. Introduction of these mutations into the complete viral genome blocked virus replication. The mutants exhibited no defects in the late stages of viral gene expression or virion assembly. Upon infection, the mutant viruses were able to carry out reverse transcription to synthesize normal levels of linear viral DNA but were unable to produce the circular viral DNAs or integrated provirus normally found in the nucleus. The results suggest that the SUMOylation of CA mediated by an interaction with Ubc9 and PIASy is required for early events of infection, after reverse transcription and before nuclear entry and viral DNA integration.
View details for DOI 10.1128/JVI.80.1.342-352.2006
View details for Web of Science ID 000235091700033
View details for PubMedID 16352559