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    Poxviral E3L ortholog (Viral Interferon resistance gene) of orf viruses of sheep and goats indicates species-specific clustering with heterogeneity among parapoxviruses. Karki Monu,Kumar Amit,Arya Sargam,Ramakrishnan M A,Venkatesan G Cytokine Orf is a contagious disease posing a serious threat to animal and human health. E3L is one of the evolutionarily acquired immunomodulatory proteins present in orf virus (ORFV) and is responsible for conferring resistance to interferons among poxviruses. Genetic analysis of ORFV isolates of different geographical regions including Indian subcontinent targeting viral interferon resistance (VIR) gene (a homolog of vaccinia virus E3L gene) revealed a high percentage of identity among themselves and other ORFV isolates at both nt and aa levels as compared to low identity among parapoxviruses (PPVs). Phylogenetic analysis showed species-specific clustering among PPVs along with sub-clusters based on host species of origin among ORFVs infecting sheep and goats. Conserved amino acids in N-terminal Z-DNA binding domain and C-terminal ds RNA binding domain of VIR proteins of PPVs corresponding to ORFV VIR positions namely N37, Y41, P57, and W59 (necessary for Z-DNA binding) and E116, F127, F141, and K160 (necessary for dsRNA binding) were found. Further, the predicted protein characteristics and homology model of VIR protein of ORFV showed high structural conservation among poxviruses. This study on E3L genetic analysis of ORFV isolates may provide a better understanding of the molecular epidemiology of circulating strains in India and neighboring countries. Also, E3L deleted or mutated ORFV may be an as vaccine candidate and/or compounds blocking E3L may prove as an effective method for treating broad spectrum poxviral infections, suggesting a wider application in control of poxvirus infections. 10.1016/j.cyto.2019.04.001
    Ectromelia virus lacking the E3L ortholog is replication-defective and nonpathogenic but does induce protective immunity in a mouse strain susceptible to lethal mousepox. Frey Tiffany R,Forsyth Katherine S,Sheehan Maura M,De Haven Brian C,Pevarnik Julia G,Hand Erin S,Pizzorno Marie C,Eisenlohr Laurence C,Hersperger Adam R Virology All known orthopoxviruses, including ectromelia virus (ECTV), contain a gene in the E3L family. The protein product of this gene, E3, is a double-stranded RNA-binding protein. It can impact host range and is used by orthopoxviruses to combat cellular defense pathways, such as PKR and RNase L. In this work, we constructed an ECTV mutant with a targeted disruption of the E3L open reading frame (ECTVΔE3L). Infection with this virus resulted in an abortive replication cycle in all cell lines tested. We detected limited transcription of late genes but no significant translation of these mRNAs. Notably, the replication defects of ECTVΔE3L were rescued in human and mouse cells lacking PKR. ECTVΔE3L was nonpathogenic in BALB/c mice, a strain susceptible to lethal mousepox disease. However, infection with ECTVΔE3L induced protective immunity upon subsequent challenge with wild-type virus. In summary, E3L is an essential gene for ECTV. 10.1016/j.virol.2018.03.016
    Variola virus E3L Zα domain, but not its Z-DNA binding activity, is required for PKR inhibition. Thakur Meghna,Seo Eun Joo,Dever Thomas E RNA (New York, N.Y.) Responding to viral infection, the interferon-induced, double-stranded RNA (dsRNA)-activated protein kinase PKR phosphorylates translation initiation factor eIF2α to inhibit cellular and viral protein synthesis. To overcome this host defense mechanism, many poxviruses express the protein E3L, containing an N-terminal Z-DNA binding (Zα) domain and a C-terminal dsRNA-binding domain (dsRBD). While E3L is thought to inhibit PKR activation by sequestering dsRNA activators and by directly binding the kinase, the role of the Zα domain in PKR inhibition remains unclear. Here, we show that the E3L Zα domain is required to suppress the growth-inhibitory properties associated with expression of human PKR in yeast, to inhibit PKR kinase activity in vitro, and to reverse the inhibitory effects of PKR on reporter gene expression in mammalian cells treated with dsRNA. Whereas previous studies revealed that the Z-DNA binding activity of E3L is critical for viral pathogenesis, we identified point mutations in E3L that functionally uncouple Z-DNA binding and PKR inhibition. Thus, our studies reveal a molecular distinction between the nucleic acid binding and PKR inhibitory functions of the E3L Zα domain, and they support the notion that E3L contributes to viral pathogenesis by targeting PKR and other components of the cellular anti-viral defense pathway. 10.1261/rna.042341.113
    Complementation of the human adenovirus type 5 VA RNAI defect by the Vaccinia virus E3L protein and serotype-specific VA RNAIs. Inturi Raviteja,Kamel Wael,Akusjärvi Göran,Punga Tanel Virology Human adenoviruses (HAdVs) encode for multifunctional non-coding virus-associated (VA) RNAs, which function as powerful suppressors of the cellular interferon (IFN) and RNA interference (RNAi) systems. In this study we tested the ability of various plant and animal virus encoded RNAi and IFN suppressor proteins to functionally substitute for the HAdV-5 VA RNAI. Our results revealed that only the Vaccinia virus (VACV) E3L protein was able to substitute for the HAdV-5 VA RNAI functions in virus-infected cells. Interestingly, the E3L protein rescues the translational defect but does not stimulate viral capsid mRNA accumulation observed with VA RNA. We further show that the E3L C-terminal region containing the dsRNA-binding domain is needed to enhance VA RNAI mutant virus replication. Additionally, we show that the HAdV-4 and HAdV-37 VA RNAI are more effective than the HAdV-5 VA RNAI in rescuing virus replication. 10.1016/j.virol.2015.07.002
    E3L and F1L Gene Functions Modulate the Protective Capacity of Modified Vaccinia Virus Ankara Immunization in Murine Model of Human Smallpox. Volz Asisa,Jany Sylvia,Freudenstein Astrid,Lantermann Markus,Ludwig Holger,Sutter Gerd Viruses The highly attenuated Modified Vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) lacks most of the known vaccinia virus (VACV) virulence and immune evasion genes. Today MVA can serve as a safety-tested next-generation smallpox vaccine. Yet, we still need to learn about regulatory gene functions preserved in the MVA genome, such as the apoptosis inhibitor genes and . Here, we tested MVA vaccine preparations on the basis of the deletion mutant viruses MVA-ΔF1L and MVA-ΔE3L for efficacy against ectromelia virus (ECTV) challenge infections in mice. In non-permissive human tissue culture the MVA deletion mutant viruses produced reduced levels of the VACV envelope antigen B5. Upon mousepox challenge at three weeks after vaccination, MVA-ΔF1L and MVA-ΔE3L exhibited reduced protective capacity in comparison to wildtype MVA. Surprisingly, however, all vaccines proved equally protective against a lethal ECTV infection at two days after vaccination. Accordingly, the deletion mutant MVA vaccines induced high levels of virus-specific CD8+ T cells previously shown to be essential for rapidly protective MVA vaccination. These results suggest that inactivation of the anti-apoptotic genes or modulates the protective capacity of MVA vaccination most likely through the induction of distinct orthopoxvirus specific immunity in the absence of these viral regulatory proteins. 10.3390/v10010021
    NMR study of hydrogen exchange during the B-Z transition of a DNA duplex induced by the Zα domains of yatapoxvirus E3L. Lee Eun-Hae,Seo Yeo-Jin,Ahn Hee-Chul,Kang Young-Min,Kim Hee-Eun,Lee Yeon-Mi,Choi Byong-Seok,Lee Joon-Hwa FEBS letters The Yaba-like disease viruses (YLDV) are members of the Yatapoxvirus family and have double-stranded DNA genomes. The E3L protein, which is essential for pathogenesis in the vaccinia virus, consists of two domains: an N-terminal Z-DNA binding domain and a C-terminal RNA binding domain. The crystal structure of the E3L orthologue of YLDV (yabZα(E3L)) bound to Z-DNA revealed that the overall structure of yabZα(E3L) and its interaction with Z-DNA are very similar to those of hZα(ADAR1). Here we have performed NMR hydrogen exchange experiments on the complexes between yabZα(E3L) and d(CGCGCG)(2) with a variety of protein-to-DNA molar ratios. This study revealed that yabZα(E3L) could efficiently change the B-form helix of the d(CGCGCG)(2) to left-handed Z-DNA via the active-mono B-Z transition pathway like hZα(ADAR1). 10.1016/j.febslet.2010.10.003
    Sequence and phylogenetic analysis of host-range (E3L, K3L, and C7L) and structural protein (B5R) genes of buffalopox virus isolates from buffalo, cattle, and human in India. Bera Bidhan Ch,Shanmugasundaram K,Barua Sanjay,Anand Taruna,Riyesh T,Vaid Rajesh K,Virmani Nitin,Bansal Manish,Shukla Brihaspati N,Malik Praveen,Singh Raj K Virus genes Buffalopox virus (BPXV), a close variant of vaccinia virus (VACV) has emerged as a zoonotic pathogen. The host tropism of poxviruses is governed by host-range genes. Among the host-range genes: E3L, K3L, and C7L are essential for virus replication by preventing interferon resistance, whereas B5R is essential for spread of the virus and evasion from the host's immune response as in VACV. We report sequence analysis of host-range genes: E3L, K3L, C7L, and membrane protein gene (B5R) of BPXVs from buffalo, cattle, and human from recent outbreaks in India-their phylogenetic relationship with reference strain (BP4) and other Orthopoxviruses. BPXVs revealed a sequence homology with VACVs including zoonotic Brazilian VACV-like viruses. The aa sequences of E3L and K3L genes were 100 % similar in buffalo, cattle, and human isolates. However, four significant point mutations (I11K; N12K and S36F in C7L gene and D249G in B5R gene) were observed specific to buffalo isolate only. This signifies that different strains of BPXV were circulated during the outbreak. The mutations in C7L and B5R could play an important role in adaptation of BPXV in human and cattle which needs further functional studies. The strain of BPXV isolated from buffalo may not be adopted in human and cow. Various point mutations were observed in the host-range genes of reference strain (BPXV-BP4) which may be due to several passages of virus in cell culture. The phylogeny constructed based on concatenated gene sequences revealed that BPXVs are not as closely related to vaccine strain (Lister and Lister-derived strain-LC16m8), as hypothesized earlier, rather they are more closely related to reference strain (BPXV-BP4) and other vaccinia and vaccinia-like viruses such as Passatempo and Aracatuba viruses. The availability of information regarding host tropism determinants would allow us to understand molecular mechanism of species tropism of poxviruses which would be useful in unveiling new strategies to control zoonotic poxviral infections. 10.1007/s11262-012-0788-8
    Attenuated NYCBH vaccinia virus deleted for the E3L gene confers partial protection against lethal monkeypox virus disease in cynomolgus macaques. Denzler Karen L,Babas Tahar,Rippeon Amy,Huynh Trung,Fukushima Nobuko,Rhodes Lowrey,Silvera Peter M,Jacobs Bertram L Vaccine The New York City Board of Health (NYCBH) vaccinia virus is the currently licensed vaccine for use in the US against smallpox. The vaccine under investigation in this study has been attenuated by deletion of the innate immune evasion gene, E3L, and shown to be protective in homologous virus mouse challenge and heterologous virus mouse and rabbit challenge models. In this study we compared NYCBH deleted for the E3L gene (NYCBHΔE3L) to NYCBH for the ability to induce phosphorylation of proinflammatory signaling proteins and the ability to protect cynomolgus macaques from heterologous challenge with monkeypox virus (MPXV). NYCBHΔE3L induced phosphorylation of PKR and eIF2α as well as p38, SAPK/JNK, and IRF3 which can lead to induction of proinflammatory gene transcription. Vaccination of macaques with two doses of NYCBHΔE3L resulted in negligible pock formation at the site of scarification in comparison to vaccination using a single dose of NYCBH, but still elicited neutralizing antibodies and protected 75% of the animals from mortality after challenge with MPXV. However, NYCBHΔE3L-vaccinated animals developed a high number of secondary skin lesions and blood viral load similar to that seen in unvaccinated controls. The NYCBHΔE3L-vaccinated animals that survived MPXV challenge were able to show resolution of blood viral load, a decrease in number of skin lesions, and an improved clinical score by three weeks post challenge. These results suggest that although the highly attenuated NYCBHΔE3L allows proinflammatory signal transduction to occur, it does not provide full protection against monkeypox challenge. 10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.09.135
    The NYCBH vaccinia virus deleted for the innate immune evasion gene, E3L, protects rabbits against lethal challenge by rabbitpox virus. Denzler Karen L,Rice Amanda D,MacNeill Amy L,Fukushima Nobuko,Lindsey Scott F,Wallace Greg,Burrage Andrew M,Smith Andrew J,Manning Brandi R,Swetnam Daniele M,Gray Stacey A,Moyer R W,Jacobs Bertram L Vaccine Vaccinia virus deleted for the innate immune evasion gene, E3L, has been shown to be highly attenuated and yet induces a protective immune response against challenge by homologous virus in a mouse model. In this manuscript the NYCBH vaccinia virus vaccine strain was compared to NYCBH vaccinia virus deleted for E3L (NYCBHΔE3L) in a rabbitpox virus (RPV) challenge model. Upon scarification, both vaccines produced a desired skin lesion, although the lesion produced by NYCBHΔE3L was smaller. Both vaccines fully protected rabbits against lethal challenge by escalating doses of RPV, from 10LD(50) to 1000LD(50). A single dose of NYCBHΔE3L protected rabbits from weight loss, fever, and clinical symptoms following the lowest dose challenge of 10LD(50), however it allowed a moderate level of RPV replication at the challenge site, some spread to external skin and mucosal surfaces, and increased numbers of secondary lesions as compared to vaccination with NYCBH. Alternately, two doses of NYCBHΔE3L fully protected rabbits from weight loss, fever, and clinical symptoms, following challenge with 100-1000LD(50) RPV, and it prevented development of secondary lesions similar to protection seen with NYCBH. Finally, vaccination with either one or two doses of NYCBHΔE3L resulted in similar neutralizing antibody titers following RPV challenge as compared to titers obtained by vaccination with NYCBH. These results support the efficacy of the attenuated NYCBHΔE3L in protection against an orthologous poxvirus challenge. 10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.07.140
    Roles of vaccinia virus genes E3L and K3L and host genes PKR and RNase L during intratracheal infection of C57BL/6 mice. Rice Amanda D,Turner Peter C,Embury Jennifer E,Moldawer Lyle L,Baker Henry V,Moyer Richard W Journal of virology The importance of the 2'-5' oligoadenylate synthetase (OAS)/RNase L and double-stranded RNA (dsRNA)-dependent protein kinase (PKR) pathways in host interferon induction resulting from virus infection in response to dsRNA has been well documented. In poxvirus infections, the interactions between the vaccinia virus (VV) genes E3L and K3L, which target RNase L and PKR, respectively, serve to prevent the induction of the dsRNA-dependent induced interferon response in cell culture. To determine the importance of these host genes in controlling VV infections, mouse single-gene knockouts of RNase L and PKR and double-knockout mice were studied following intratracheal infection with VV, VVΔK3L, or VVΔE3L. VV caused lethal disease in all mouse strains. The single-knockout animals were more susceptible than wild-type animals, while the RNase L(-/-) PKR(-/-) mice were the most susceptible. VVΔE3L infections of wild-type mice were asymptomatic, demonstrating that E3L plays a critical role in controlling the host immune response. RNase L(-/-) mice showed no disease, whereas 20% of the PKR(-/-) mice succumbed at a dose of 10(8) PFU. Lethal disease was routinely observed in RNase L(-/-) PKR(-/-) mice inoculated with 10(8) PFU of VVΔE3L, with a distinct pathology. VVΔK3L infections exhibited no differences in virulence among any of the mouse constructs, suggesting that PKR is not the exclusive target of K3L. Surprisingly, VVΔK3L did not disseminate to other tissues from the lung. Hence, the cause of death in this model is respiratory disease. These results also suggest that an unanticipated role of the K3L gene is to facilitate virus dissemination. 10.1128/JVI.00254-10
    Identification of protective T-cell antigens for smallpox vaccines. Ando Jun,Ngo Minhtran C,Ando Miki,Leen Ann,Rooney Cliona M Cytotherapy Background aims:E3L is an immediate-early protein of vaccinia virus (VV) that is detected within 0.5 h of infection, potentially before the many immune evasion genes of vaccinia can exert their protective effects. E3L is highly conserved among orthopoxviruses and hence could provide important protective T-cell epitopes that should be retained in any subunit or attenuated vaccine. We have therefore evaluated the immunogenicity of E3L in healthy VV-vaccinated donors. Methods:Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from healthy volunteers (n = 13) who had previously received a smallpox vaccine (Dryvax) were activated and expanded using overlapping E3L peptides and their function, specificity and antiviral activity was analyzed. E3L-specific T cells were expanded from 7 of 12 (58.3%) vaccinated healthy donors. Twenty-five percent of these produced CD8+ T-cell responses and 87.5% produced CD4+ T cells. We identified epitopes restricted by HLA-B35 and HLA-DR15. Results:E3L-specific T cells killed peptide-loaded target cells as well as vaccinia-infected cells, but only CD8+ T cells could prevent the spread of infectious virus in virus inhibition assays. The epitopes recognized by E3L-specific T cells were shared with monkeypox, and although there was a single amino acid change in the variola epitope homolog, it was recognized by vaccinia-specific T-cells. Conclusions:It might be important to include E3L in any deletion mutant or subunit vaccine and E3L could provide a useful antigen to monitor protective immunity in humans. 10.1016/j.jcyt.2020.04.098
    The attenuated NYCBH vaccinia virus deleted for the immune evasion gene, E3L, completely protects mice against heterologous challenge with ectromelia virus. Denzler Karen L,Schriewer Jill,Parker Scott,Werner Chas,Hartzler Hollyce,Hembrador Ed,Huynh Trung,Holechek Susan,Buller R M,Jacobs Bertram L Vaccine The New York City Board of Health (NYCBH) vaccinia virus (VACV) vaccine strain was deleted for the immune evasion gene, E3L, and tested for its pathogenicity and ability to protect mice from heterologous challenge with ectromelia virus (ECTV). NYCBHΔE3L was found to be highly attenuated for pathogenicity in a newborn mouse model and showed a similar attenuated phenotype as the NYVAC strain of vaccinia virus. Scarification with one or two doses of the attenuated NYCBHΔE3L was able to protect mice equally as well as NYCBH from death, weight loss, and viral spread to visceral organs. A single dose of NYCBHΔE3L resulted in low poxvirus-specific antibodies, and a second dose increased levels of poxvirus-specific antibodies to a level similar to that seen in animals vaccinated with a single dose of NYCBH. However, similar neutralizing antibody titers were observed following one or two doses of NYCBHΔE3L or NYCBH. Thus, NYCBHΔE3L shows potential as a candidate for a safer human smallpox vaccine since it protects mice from challenge with a heterologous poxvirus. 10.1016/j.vaccine.2011.09.108
    Host-range restriction of vaccinia virus E3L deletion mutant can be overcome in vitro, but not in vivo, by expression of the influenza virus NS1 protein. Guerra Susana,Abaitua Fernando,Martínez-Sobrido Luis,Esteban Mariano,García-Sastre Adolfo,Rodríguez Dolores PloS one During the last decades, research focused on vaccinia virus (VACV) pathogenesis has been intensified prompted by its potential beneficial application as a vector for vaccine development and anti-cancer therapies, but also due to the fear of its potential use as a bio-terrorism threat. Recombinant viruses lacking a type I interferon (IFN) antagonist are attenuated and hence good vaccine candidates. However, vaccine virus growth requires production in IFN-deficient systems, and thus viral IFN antagonists that are active in vitro, yet not in vivo, are of great value. The VACV E3 and influenza virus NS1 proteins are distinct double-stranded RNA-binding proteins that play an important role in pathogenesis by inhibiting the mammalian IFN-regulated innate antiviral response. Based on the functional similarities between E3 and NS1, we investigated the ability of NS1 to replace the biological functions of E3 of VACV in both in vitro and in vivo systems. For this, we generated a VACV recombinant virus lacking the E3L gene, yet expressing NS1 (VVΔE3L/NS1). Our study revealed that NS1 can functionally replace E3 in cultured cells, rescuing the protein synthesis blockade, and preventing apoptosis and RNA breakdown. In contrast, in vivo the VVΔE3L/NS1 virus was highly attenuated after intranasal inoculation, as it was unable to spread to the lungs and other organs. These results indicate that there are commonalities but also functional differences in the roles of NS1 and E3 as inhibitors of the innate antiviral response, which could potentially be utilized for vaccine production purposes in the future. 10.1371/journal.pone.0028677
    The amino terminus of the vaccinia virus E3 protein is necessary to inhibit the interferon response. White Stacy D,Jacobs Bertram L Journal of virology Vaccinia virus (VACV) encodes a multifunctional protein, E3L, that is necessary for interferon (IFN) resistance in cells in culture. Interferon resistance has been mapped to the well-characterized carboxy terminus of E3L, which contains a conserved double-stranded RNA binding domain. The amino terminus of E3L has a Z-form nucleic acid binding domain, which has been shown to be dispensable for replication and IFN resistance in HeLa and RK13 cells; however, a virus expressing E3L deleted of the amino terminus has reduced pathogenicity in an animal model. In this study, we demonstrate that the pathogenicity of a virus expressing E3L deleted of the amino terminus was fully rescued in type I IFN receptor knockout (IFN-α/βR(-/-)) mice. Furthermore, this virus was IFN sensitive in primary mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEFs). This virus induced the phosphorylation of the α subunit of eukaryotic initiation factor 2 (eIF2α) in MEFs in an IFN-dependent manner. The depletion of double-stranded RNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR) from these MEFs restored the IFN resistance of this virus. Furthermore, the virus expressing E3L deleted of the amino terminus was also IFN resistant in PKR(-/-) MEFs. Thus, our data demonstrate that the amino terminus of E3L is necessary to inhibit the type I IFN response both in mice and in MEFs and that in MEFs, the amino terminus of E3L functions to inhibit the PKR pathway. 10.1128/JVI.06889-11
    Rapid, Seamless Generation of Recombinant Poxviruses using Host Range and Visual Selection. Vipat Sameera,Brennan Greg,Park Chorong,Haller Sherry L,Rothenburg Stefan Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE Vaccinia virus (VACV) was instrumental in eradicating variola virus (VARV), the causative agent of smallpox, from nature. Since its first use as a vaccine, VACV has been developed as a vector for therapeutic vaccines and as an oncolytic virus. These applications take advantage of VACV's easily manipulated genome and broad host range as an outstanding platform to generate recombinant viruses with a variety of therapeutic applications. Several methods have been developed to generate recombinant VACV, including marker selection methods and transient dominant selection. Here, we present a refinement of a host range selection method coupled with visual identification of recombinant viruses. Our method takes advantage of selective pressure generated by the host antiviral protein kinase R (PKR) coupled with a fluorescent fusion gene expressing mCherry-tagged E3L, one of two VACV PKR antagonists. The cassette, including the gene of interest and the mCherry-E3L fusion is flanked by sequences derived from the VACV genome. Between the gene of interest and mCherry-E3L is a smaller region that is identical to the first ~150 nucleotides of the 3' arm, to promote homologous recombination and loss of the mCherry-E3L gene after selection. We demonstrate that this method permits efficient, seamless generation of rVACV in a variety of cell types without requiring drug selection or extensive screening for mutant viruses. 10.3791/61049
    Ectopic expression of vaccinia virus E3 and K3 cannot rescue ectromelia virus replication in rabbit RK13 cells. Hand Erin S,Haller Sherry L,Peng Chen,Rothenburg Stefan,Hersperger Adam R PloS one As a group, poxviruses have been shown to infect a wide variety of animal species. However, there is individual variability in the range of species able to be productively infected. In this study, we observed that ectromelia virus (ECTV) does not replicate efficiently in cultured rabbit RK13 cells. Conversely, vaccinia virus (VACV) replicates well in these cells. Upon infection of RK13 cells, the replication cycle of ECTV is abortive in nature, resulting in a greatly reduced ability to spread among cells in culture. We observed ample levels of early gene expression but reduced detection of virus factories and severely blunted production of enveloped virus at the cell surface. This work focused on two important host range genes, named E3L and K3L, in VACV. Both VACV and ECTV express a functional protein product from the E3L gene, but only VACV contains an intact K3L gene. To better understand the discrepancy in replication capacity of these viruses, we examined the ability of ECTV to replicate in wild-type RK13 cells compared to cells that constitutively express E3 and K3 from VACV. The role these proteins play in the ability of VACV to replicate in RK13 cells was also analyzed to determine their individual contribution to viral replication and PKR activation. Since E3L and K3L are two relevant host range genes, we hypothesized that expression of one or both of them may have a positive impact on the ability of ECTV to replicate in RK13 cells. Using various methods to assess virus growth, we did not detect any significant differences with respect to the replication of ECTV between wild-type RK13 compared to versions of this cell line that stably expressed VACV E3 alone or in combination with K3. Therefore, there remain unanswered questions related to the factors that limit the host range of ECTV. 10.1371/journal.pone.0119189
    Vaccinia virus E3 prevents sensing of Z-RNA to block ZBP1-dependent necroptosis. Koehler Heather,Cotsmire Samantha,Zhang Ting,Balachandran Siddharth,Upton Jason W,Langland Jeffery,Kalman Daniel,Jacobs Bertram L,Mocarski Edward S Cell host & microbe Necroptosis mediated by Z-nucleic-acid-binding protein (ZBP)1 (also called DAI or DLM1) contributes to innate host defense against viruses by triggering cell death to eliminate infected cells. During infection, vaccinia virus (VACV) protein E3 prevents death signaling by competing for Z-form RNA through an N-terminal Zα domain. In the absence of this E3 domain, Z-form RNA accumulates during the early phase of VACV infection, triggering ZBP1 to recruit receptor interacting protein kinase (RIPK)3 and execute necroptosis. The C-terminal E3 double-strand RNA-binding domain must be retained to observe accumulation of Z-form RNA and induction of necroptosis. Substitutions of Zα from either ZBP1 or the RNA-editing enzyme double-stranded RNA adenosine deaminase (ADAR)1 yields fully functional E3 capable of suppressing virus-induced necroptosis. Overall, our evidence reveals the importance of Z-form RNA generated during VACV infection as a pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP) unleashing ZBP1/RIPK3/MLKL-dependent necroptosis unless suppressed by viral E3. 10.1016/j.chom.2021.05.009
    Ectromelia virus accumulates less double-stranded RNA compared to vaccinia virus in BS-C-1 cells. Frey Tiffany R,Lehmann Michael H,Ryan Colton M,Pizzorno Marie C,Sutter Gerd,Hersperger Adam R Virology Most orthopoxviruses, including vaccinia virus (VACV), contain genes in the E3L and K3L families. The protein products of these genes have been shown to combat PKR, a host defense pathway. Interestingly, ectromelia virus (ECTV) contains an E3L ortholog but does not possess an intact K3L gene. Here, we gained insight into how ECTV can still efficiently evade PKR despite lacking K3L. Relative to VACV, we found that ECTV-infected BS-C-1 cells accumulated considerably less double-stranded (ds) RNA, which was due to lower mRNA levels and less transcriptional read-through of some genes by ECTV. The abundance of dsRNA in VACV-infected cells, detected using a monoclonal antibody, was able to activate the RNase L pathway at late time points post-infection. Historically, the study of transcription by orthopoxviruses has largely focused on VACV as a model. Our data suggest that there could be more to learn by studying other members of this genus. 10.1016/j.virol.2017.06.010
    Small Hero with Great Powers: Vaccinia Virus E3 Protein and Evasion of the Type I IFN Response. Szczerba Mateusz,Subramanian Sambhavi,Trainor Kelly,McCaughan Megan,Kibler Karen V,Jacobs Bertram L Biomedicines Poxviridae have developed a plethora of strategies to evade innate and adaptive immunity. In this review, we focused on the vaccinia virus E3 protein, encoded by the gene. E3 is present within the subfamily (with the exception of the avipoxviruses and molluscum contagiosum virus) and displays pleiotropic effects on the innate immune system. Initial studies identified E3 as a double-stranded RNA (dsRNA)-binding protein (through its C terminus), able to inhibit the activation of protein kinase dependent on RNA (PKR) and the 2'5'-oligoadenylate synthetase (OAS)/RNase L pathway, rendering E3 a protein counteracting the type I interferon (IFN) system. In recent years, N-terminal mutants of E3 unable to bind to Z-form nucleic acids have been shown to induce the cellular death pathway necroptosis. This pathway was dependent on host IFN-inducible Z-DNA-binding protein 1 (ZBP1); full-length E3 is able to inhibit ZBP1-mediated necroptosis. Binding to what was identified as Z-RNA has emerged as a novel mechanism of counteracting the type I IFN system and has broadened our understanding of innate immunity against viral infections. This article gives an overview of the studies leading to our understanding of the vaccinia virus E3 protein function and its involvement in viral pathogenesis. Furthermore, a short summary of other viral systems is provided. 10.3390/biomedicines10020235
    Single Immunization of a Vaccine Vectored by a Novel Recombinant Vaccinia Virus Affords Effective Protection Against Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection in Cotton Rats. Russell Marsha S,Thulasi Raman Sathya N,Gravel Caroline,Zhang Wanyue,Pfeifle Annabelle,Chen Wangxue,Van Domselaar Gary,Safronetz David,Johnston Michael,Sauve Simon,Wang Lisheng,Rosu-Myles Michael,Cao Jingxin,Li Xuguang Frontiers in immunology Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a leading cause of respiratory infections worldwide and disease management measures are hampered by the lack of a safe and effective vaccine against the infection. We constructed a novel recombinant RSV vaccine candidate based on a deletion mutant vaccinia virus platform, in that the host range genes E3L and K3L were deleted (designated as VACVΔE3LΔK3L) and a poxvirus K3L ortholog gene was used as a marker for the rapid and efficient selection of recombinant viruses. The safety of the modified vaccinia virus was investigated by intranasal administration of BALB/c mice with the modified vaccinia vector using a dose known to be lethal in the wild-type Western Reserve. Only a minor loss of body weight by less than 5% and mild pulmonary inflammation were observed, both of which were transient in nature following nasal administration of the high-dose modified vaccinia virus. In addition, the viruses were cleared from the lung in 2 days with no viral invasions of the brain and other vital organs. These results suggest that the virulence of the virus has been essentially abolished. We then investigated the efficiency of the vector for the delivery of vaccines against RSV through comparison with another RSV vaccine delivered by the widely used Modified Vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) backbone. In the cotton rats, we found a single intramuscular administration of VACVΔE3LΔK3L-vectored vaccine elicited immune responses and protection at a level comparable to the MVA-vectored vaccine against RSV infection. The distinct features of this novel VACV vector, such as an E3L deletion for attenuation and a K3L ortholog for positive selection and high efficiency for vaccine delivery, could provide unique advantages to the application of VACV as a platform for vaccine development. 10.3389/fimmu.2021.747866
    Subversion of Programed Cell Death by Poxviruses. Koehler Heather S,Jacobs Bertram L Current topics in microbiology and immunology Poxviruses have been long regarded as potent inhibitors of apoptotic cell death. More recently, they have been shown to inhibit necroptotic cell death through two distinct strategies. These strategies involve either blocking virus sensing by the host pattern recognition receptor, ZBP1 (also called DAI) or by influencing receptor interacting protein kinase (RIPK)3 signal transduction by inhibition of activation of the executioner of necroptosis, mixed lineage kinase-like protein (MLKL). Vaccinia virus E3 specifically blocks ZBP1 → RIPK3 → MLKL necroptosis, leaving virus-infected cells susceptible to the TNF death-receptor signaling (e.g., TNFR1 → FADD → RIPK1 → RIPK3 → MLKL), and, potentially, TLR3 → TRIF → RIPK3 → MLKL necroptosis. While E3 restriction of necroptosis appears to be common to many poxviruses that infect vertebrate hosts, another modulatory strategy not observed in vaccinia or variola virus manifests through subversion of MLKL activation. Recently described viral mimics of MLKL in other chordopoxviruses inhibit all three modes of necroptotic cell death. As with inhibition of apoptosis, the evolution of potentially redundant viral mechanisms to inhibit programmed necroptotic cell death emphasizes the importance of this pathway in the arms race between pathogens and their hosts. 10.1007/82_2020_229
    Application of poxvirus K3 ortholog as a positive selection marker for constructing recombinant vaccinia viruses with modified host range. Cao Jingxin,Layne Christine,Varga Jessie,Deschambault Yvon MethodsX Vaccinia virus is capable of replicating in a wide range of vertebrate animal cells. However, deletion of the two virus host range genes, E3L and K3L, would render replication of the virus abortive in all the cell types tested, except the cells with defective PKR and RNase L activity. By expressing different poxvirus K3 ortholog proteins in the E3L and K3L double knockout vaccinia virus, we can construct a mutant vaccinia virus with modified host range. Here, using poxvirus K3 ortholog as a positive selection marker, we developed a proof-of-concept protocol to construct recombinant vaccinia viruses expressing foreign proteins. Such a recombinant virus has a modified host range in comparison to wild-type vaccinia virus. This protocol offers the following advantages:➢Cheap: no additional selection reagent is required.➢Highly efficient: nearly all recombinant virus plaques picked would be the stable recombinant virus expressing the protein of interest.➢Rapid: starting from transfection with the recombinant DNA vector, a purified recombinant virus expressing the protein of interest could be obtained within a week. 10.1016/j.mex.2020.100918
    Characterization of a PKR inhibitor from the pathogenic ranavirus, Ambystoma tigrinum virus, using a heterologous vaccinia virus system. Huynh Trung P,Jancovich James K,Tripuraneni Latha,Heck Michael C,Langland Jeffrey O,Jacobs Bertram L Virology Ambystoma tigrinum virus (ATV) (family Iridoviridae, genus Ranavirus) was isolated from diseased tiger salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum stebbinsi) from the San Rafael Valley in southern Arizona, USA in 1996. Genomic sequencing of ATV, as well as other members of the genus, identified an open reading frame that has homology to the eukaryotic translation initiation factor, eIF2α (ATV eIF2α homologue, vIF2αH). Therefore, we asked if the ATV vIF2αH could also inhibit PKR. To test this hypothesis, the ATV vIF2αH was cloned into vaccinia virus (VACV) in place of the well-characterized VACV PKR inhibitor, E3L. Recombinant VACV expressing ATV vIF2αH partially rescued deletion of the VACV E3L gene. Rescue coincided with rapid degradation of PKR in infected cells. These data suggest that the salamander virus, ATV, contains a novel gene that may counteract host defenses, and this gene product may be involved in the presentation of disease caused by this environmentally important pathogen. 10.1016/j.virol.2017.08.012
    Evasion of the Innate Immune Type I Interferon System by Monkeypox Virus. Arndt William D,Cotsmire Samantha,Trainor Kelly,Harrington Heather,Hauns Kevin,Kibler Karen V,Huynh Trung P,Jacobs Bertram L Journal of virology UNLABELLED:The vaccinia virus (VACV) E3 protein has been shown to be important for blocking activation of the cellular innate immune system and allowing viral replication to occur unhindered. Mutation or deletion of E3L severely affects viral host range and pathogenesis. While the monkeypox virus (MPXV) genome encodes a homologue of the VACV E3 protein, encoded by the F3L gene, the MPXV gene is predicted to encode a protein with a truncation of 37 N-terminal amino acids. VACV with a genome encoding a similarly truncated E3L protein (VACV-E3LΔ37N) has been shown to be attenuated in mouse models, and infection with VACV-E3LΔ37N has been shown to lead to activation of the host antiviral protein kinase R pathway. In this report, we present data demonstrating that, despite containing a truncated E3 homologue, MPXV phenotypically resembles a wild-type (wt) VACV rather than VACV-E3LΔ37N. Thus, MPXV appears to contain a gene or genes that can suppress the phenotypes associated with an N-terminal truncation in E3. The suppression maps to sequences outside F3L, suggesting that the suppression is extragenic in nature. Thus, MPXV appears to have evolved mechanisms to minimize the effects of partial inactivation of its E3 homologue. IMPORTANCE:Poxviruses have evolved to have many mechanisms to evade host antiviral innate immunity; these mechanisms may allow these viruses to cause disease. Within the family of poxviruses, variola virus (which causes smallpox) is the most pathogenic, while monkeypox virus is intermediate in pathogenicity between vaccinia virus and variola virus. Understanding the mechanisms of monkeypox virus innate immune evasion will help us to understand the evolution of poxvirus innate immune evasion capabilities, providing a better understanding of how poxviruses cause disease. 10.1128/JVI.00304-15
    Functional analysis of the short isoform of orf virus protein OV20.0. Tseng Yeu-Yang,Lin Fong-Yuan,Cheng Sun-Fang,Tscharke David,Chulakasian Songkhla,Chou Chia-Chi,Liu Ya-Fen,Chang Wei-Shan,Wong Min-Liang,Hsu Wei-Li Journal of virology UNLABELLED:Orf virus (ORFV) OV20.0L is an ortholog of vaccinia virus (VACV) gene E3L. The function of VACV E3 protein as a virulence factor is well studied, but OV20.0 has received less attention. Here we show that like VACV E3L, OV20.0L encodes two proteins, a full-length protein and a shorter form (sh20). The shorter sh20 is an N-terminally truncated OV20.0 isoform generated when a downstream AUG codon is used for initiating translation. These isoforms differed in cellular localization, with full-length OV20.0 and sh20 found throughout the cell and predominantly in the cytoplasm, respectively. Nonetheless, both OV20.0 isoforms were able to bind double-stranded RNA (dsRNA)-activated protein kinase (PKR) and dsRNA. Moreover, both isoforms strongly inhibited PKR activation as shown by decreased phosphorylation of the translation initiation factor eIF2α subunit and protection of Sindbis virus infection against the activity of interferon (IFN). In spite of this apparent conservation of function in vitro, a recombinant ORFV that was able to express only the sh20 isoform was attenuated in a mouse model. IMPORTANCE:The OV20.0 protein of orf virus (ORFV) has two isoforms and contributes to virulence, but the roles of the two forms are not known. This study shows that the shorter isoform (sh20) arises due to use of a downstream initiation codon and is amino-terminally truncated. The sh20 form also differs in expression kinetics and cellular localization from full-length OV20.0. Similar to the full-length isoform, sh20 is able to bind dsRNA and PKR, inactivate PKR, and thus act as an antagonist of the interferon response in vitro. In vivo, however, wild-type OV20.0 could not be replaced with sh20 alone without a loss of virulence, suggesting that the functions of the isoforms are not simply redundant. 10.1128/JVI.03714-14
    Crystal structure of a poxvirus-like zalpha domain from cyprinid herpesvirus 3. Tomé Ana Rita,Kuś Krzysztof,Correia Silvia,Paulo Lara Martins,Zacarias Sónia,de Rosa Matteo,Figueiredo Delio,Parkhouse R Michael E,Athanasiadis Alekos Journal of virology Zalpha domains are a subfamily of the winged helix-turn-helix domains sharing the unique ability to recognize CpG repeats in the left-handed Z-DNA conformation. In vertebrates, domains of this family are found exclusively in proteins that detect foreign nucleic acids and activate components of the antiviral interferon response. Moreover, poxviruses encode the Zalpha domain-containing protein E3L, a well-studied and potent inhibitor of interferon response. Here we describe a herpesvirus Zalpha-domain-containing protein (ORF112) from cyprinid herpesvirus 3. We demonstrate that ORF112 also binds CpG repeats in the left-handed conformation, and moreover, its structure at 1.75 Å reveals the Zalpha fold found in ADAR1, DAI, PKZ, and E3L. Unlike other Zalpha domains, however, ORF112 forms a dimer through a unique domain-swapping mechanism. Thus, ORF112 may be considered a new member of the Z-domain family having DNA binding properties similar to those of the poxvirus E3L inhibitor of interferon response. 10.1128/JVI.03116-12
    Inhibition of type III interferon activity by orthopoxvirus immunomodulatory proteins. Bandi Prasanthi,Pagliaccetti Nicole E,Robek Michael D Journal of interferon & cytokine research : the official journal of the International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research The type III interferon (IFN) family elicits an antiviral response that is nearly identical to that evoked by IFN-alpha/beta. However, these cytokines (known as IFN-lambda1, 2, and 3) signal through a distinct receptor, and thus may be resistant to the evasion strategies used by some viruses to avoid the IFN-alpha/beta response. Orthopoxviruses are highly resistant to IFN-alpha/beta because they encode well-characterized immunomodulatory proteins that inhibit IFN activity. These include a secreted receptor (B18R) that neutralizes IFN-alpha/beta, and a cytoplasmic protein (E3L) that blocks IFN-alpha/beta effector functions in infected cells. We therefore determined the ability of these immunomodulators to abrogate the IFN-lambda-induced antiviral response. We found that (i) vaccinia virus (VACV) replication is resistant to IFN-lambda antiviral activity; (ii) neither VACV B18R nor the variola virus homolog B20R neutralizes IFN-lambda; (iii) VACV E3L inhibits the IFN-lambda-mediated antiviral response through a PKR-dependent pathway; (iv) VACV infection inhibits IFN-lambdaR-mediated signal transduction and gene expression. These results demonstrate differential sensitivity of IFN-lambda to multiple distinct evasion mechanisms employed by a single virus. 10.1089/jir.2009.0049
    Dual conformational recognition by Z-DNA binding protein is important for the B-Z transition process. Park Chaehee,Zheng Xu,Park Chan Yang,Kim Jeesoo,Lee Seul Ki,Won Hyuk,Choi Jinhyuk,Kim Yang-Gyun,Choi Hee-Jung Nucleic acids research Left-handed Z-DNA is radically different from the most common right-handed B-DNA and can be stabilized by interactions with the Zα domain, which is found in a group of proteins, such as human ADAR1 and viral E3L proteins. It is well-known that most Zα domains bind to Z-DNA in a conformation-specific manner and induce rapid B-Z transition in physiological conditions. Although many structural and biochemical studies have identified the detailed interactions between the Zα domain and Z-DNA, little is known about the molecular basis of the B-Z transition process. In this study, we successfully converted the B-Z transition-defective Zα domain, vvZαE3L, into a B-Z converter by improving B-DNA binding ability, suggesting that B-DNA binding is involved in the B-Z transition. In addition, we engineered the canonical B-DNA binding protein GH5 into a Zα-like protein having both Z-DNA binding and B-Z transition activities by introducing Z-DNA interacting residues. Crystal structures of these mutants of vvZαE3L and GH5 complexed with Z-DNA confirmed the significance of conserved Z-DNA binding interactions. Altogether, our results provide molecular insight into how Zα domains obtain unusual conformational specificity and induce the B-Z transition. 10.1093/nar/gkaa1115
    CRISPR/Cas9 as an antiviral against Orthopoxviruses using an AAV vector. Siegrist Cathryn M,Kinahan Sean M,Settecerri Taylor,Greene Adrienne C,Santarpia Joshua L Scientific reports A vaccine for smallpox is no longer administered to the general public, and there is no proven, safe treatment specific to poxvirus infections, leaving people susceptible to infections by smallpox and other zoonotic Orthopoxviruses such as monkeypox. Using vaccinia virus (VACV) as a model organism for other Orthopoxviruses, CRISPR-Cas9 technology was used to target three essential genes that are conserved across the genus, including A17L, E3L, and I2L. Three individual single guide RNAs (sgRNAs) were designed per gene to facilitate redundancy in rendering the genes inactive, thereby reducing the reproduction of the virus. The efficacy of the CRISPR targets was tested by transfecting human embryonic kidney (HEK293) cells with plasmids encoding both SaCas9 and an individual sgRNA. This resulted in a reduction of VACV titer by up to 93.19% per target. Following the verification of CRISPR targets, safe and targeted delivery of the VACV CRISPR antivirals was tested using adeno-associated virus (AAV) as a packaging vector for both SaCas9 and sgRNA. Similarly, AAV delivery of the CRISPR antivirals resulted in a reduction of viral titer by up to 92.97% for an individual target. Overall, we have identified highly specific CRISPR targets that significantly reduce VACV titer as well as an appropriate vector for delivering these CRISPR antiviral components to host cells in vitro. 10.1038/s41598-020-76449-9
    Recognizing limits of Z-nucleic acid binding protein (ZBP1/DAI/DLM1) function. Koehler Heather S,Feng Yanjun,Mandal Pratyusha,Mocarski Edward S The FEBS journal Z-nucleic acid binding protein (ZBP)1 (also known as DAI and DLM1) is a pathogen sensor activated by double-strand character RNA to recruit receptor-interacting protein (RIP) kinase via a RIP homotypic interaction motif. The activation of receptor-interacting protein kinase (RIPK)3 and initiation of virus-induced necroptosis were initially reported in a landmark publication Upton et al. (Cell Host Microbe 11: 290, 2012) employing the DNA virus murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV). M45-encoded viral inhibitor of RIP activation prevents virus-induced necroptosis. Additional virus-encoded suppressors of necroptosis were then identified, including herpes simplex virus ICP6 and vaccinia virus E3L. Caspase-8 suppressors encoded by these DNA viruses block apoptosis, unleashing necroptosis mediated through Z-nucleic acid binding protein 1 (ZBP1) recruitment of RIPK3. These studies all utilized ZBP1-deficient mice generated by the Akira Lab (Zbp1 ) to bring the significance of virus-induced necroptosis to light. C57BL/6 mice were chosen as controls based on the assumption that mutant mice were congenic; however, these mice were recently found to display an unexpected innate immune deficit, lacking C57BL/6-specific NK1.1 and Ly49H natural killer cell subpopulations important in the early control of MCMV infection. Short nucleotide polymorphism analysis of Zbp1 breeders revealed a mixed genetic background (~ 71% C57BL/6 DNA and ~ 29% 129). Even though this level of 129 strain background does not alter ZBP1 cell-autonomous function as a sensor and mediator of necroptosis, it confounds innate immune response characteristics. In the future, genetic background must be carefully controlled before implicating ZBP1 function in response characteristics that shape immunity, inflammation, metabolism, and pathogenesis. 10.1111/febs.15242
    Poxvirus encoded eIF2α homolog, K3 family proteins, is a key determinant of poxvirus host species specificity. Cao Jingxin,Varga Jessie,Deschambault Yvon Virology Protein kinase R plays a key role in innate antiviral immune responses of vertebrate animals. Most mammalian poxviruses encode two PKR antagonists, E3 (dsRNA binding) and K3 (eIF2α homolog) proteins. In this study, the role of K3 family proteins from poxviruses with distinct host tropisms in determining the virus host range was examined in a vaccinia E3L deletion mutant virus. It was found that K3 orthologs from the species-specific poxviruses (taterapox virus, sheeppox virus, myxoma virus, swinepox virus and yaba monkey tumor virus) restored the virus replication competency in cells derived from their natural hosts or related animal species. Further, it was found that the residues located in the helix insert region of the protein, K45 of vaccinia K3 and Y47 of the sheep poxvirus ortholog 011, are critical for the virus host species specificity. These observations demonstrate that poxvirus K3 proteins are major determinants of the virus host specificity. 10.1016/j.virol.2019.12.008
    Emergence of a Viral RNA Polymerase Variant during Gene Copy Number Amplification Promotes Rapid Evolution of Vaccinia Virus. Cone Kelsey R,Kronenberg Zev N,Yandell Mark,Elde Nels C Journal of virology Viruses are under relentless selective pressure from host immune defenses. To study how poxviruses adapt to innate immune detection pathways, we performed serial vaccinia virus infections in primary human cells. Independent courses of experimental evolution with a recombinant strain lacking E3L revealed several high-frequency point mutations in conserved poxvirus genes, suggesting important roles for essential poxvirus proteins in innate immune subversion. Two distinct mutations were identified in the viral RNA polymerase gene A24R, which seem to act through different mechanisms to increase virus replication. Specifically, a Leu18Phe substitution encoded within A24R conferred fitness trade-offs, including increased activation of the antiviral factor protein kinase R (PKR). Intriguingly, this A24R variant underwent a drastic selective sweep during passaging, despite enhanced PKR activity. We showed that the sweep of this variant could be accelerated by the presence of copy number variation (CNV) at the K3L locus, which in multiple copies strongly reduced PKR activation. Therefore, adaptive cases of CNV can facilitate the accumulation of point mutations separate from the expanded locus. This study reveals how rapid bouts of gene copy number amplification during accrual of distant point mutations can potently facilitate poxvirus adaptation to host defenses. IMPORTANCE:Viruses can evolve quickly to defeat host immune functions. For poxviruses, little is known about how multiple adaptive mutations emerge in populations at the same time. In this study, we uncovered a means of vaccinia virus adaptation involving the accumulation of distinct genetic variants within a single population. We identified adaptive point mutations in the viral RNA polymerase gene A24R and, surprisingly, found that one of these mutations activates the nucleic acid sensing factor PKR. We also found that gene copy number variation (CNV) can provide dual benefits to evolving virus populations, including evidence that CNV facilitates the accumulation of a point mutation distant from the expanded locus. Our data suggest that transient CNV can accelerate the fixation of mutations conferring modest benefits, or even fitness trade-offs, and highlight how structural variation might aid poxvirus adaptation through both direct and indirect actions. 10.1128/JVI.01428-16
    PKR Transduces MDA5-Dependent Signals for Type I IFN Induction. Pham Alissa M,Santa Maria Felicia Gilfoy,Lahiri Tanaya,Friedman Eugene,Marié Isabelle J,Levy David E PLoS pathogens Sensing invading pathogens early in infection is critical for establishing host defense. Two cytosolic RIG-like RNA helicases, RIG-I and MDA5, are key to type I interferon (IFN) induction in response to viral infection. Mounting evidence suggests that another viral RNA sensor, protein kinase R (PKR), may also be critical for IFN induction during infection, although its exact contribution and mechanism of action are not completely understood. Using PKR-deficient cells, we found that PKR was required for type I IFN induction in response to infection by vaccinia virus lacking the PKR antagonist E3L (VVΔE3L), but not by Sendai virus or influenza A virus lacking the IFN-antagonist NS1 (FluΔNS1). IFN induction required the catalytic activity of PKR, but not the phosphorylation of its principal substrate, eIF2α, or the resulting inhibition of host translation. In the absence of PKR, IRF3 nuclear translocation was impaired in response to MDA5 activators, VVΔE3L and encephalomyocarditis virus, but not during infection with a RIG-I-activating virus. Interestingly, PKR interacted with both RIG-I and MDA5; however, PKR was only required for MDA5-mediated, but not RIG-I-mediated, IFN production. Using an artificially activated form of PKR, we showed that PKR activity alone was sufficient for IFN induction. This effect required MAVS and correlated with IRF3 activation, but no longer required MDA5. Nonetheless, PKR activation during viral infection was enhanced by MDA5, as virus-stimulated catalytic activity was impaired in MDA5-null cells. Taken together, our data describe a critical and non-redundant role for PKR following MDA5, but not RIG-I, activation to mediate MAVS-dependent induction of type I IFN through a kinase-dependent mechanism. 10.1371/journal.ppat.1005489
    Formation of antiviral cytoplasmic granules during orthopoxvirus infection. Simpson-Holley M,Kedersha N,Dower K,Rubins K H,Anderson P,Hensley L E,Connor J H Journal of virology Vaccinia virus (VV) mutants lacking the double-stranded RNA (dsRNA)-binding E3L protein (ΔE3L mutant VV) show restricted replication in most cell types, as dsRNA produced by VV activates protein kinase R (PKR), leading to eIF2α phosphorylation and impaired translation initiation. Here we show that cells infected with ΔE3L mutant VV assemble cytoplasmic granular structures which surround the VV replication factories at an early stage of the nonproductive infection. These structures contain the stress granule-associated proteins G3BP, TIA-1, and USP10, as well as poly(A)-containing RNA. These structures lack large ribosomal subunit proteins, suggesting that they are translationally inactive. Formation of these punctate structures correlates with restricted replication, as they occur in >80% of cells infected with ΔE3L mutant VV but in only 10% of cells infected with wild-type VV. We therefore refer to these structures as antiviral granules (AVGs). Formation of AVGs requires PKR and phosphorylated eIF2α, as mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) lacking PKR displayed reduced granule formation and MEFs lacking phosphorylatable eIF2α showed no granule formation. In both cases, these decreased levels of AVG formation correlated with increased ΔE3L mutant VV replication. Surprisingly, MEFs lacking the AVG component protein TIA-1 supported increased replication of ΔE3L mutant VV, despite increased eIF2α phosphorylation and the assembly of AVGs that lacked TIA-1. These data indicate that the effective PKR-mediated restriction of ΔE3L mutant VV replication requires AVG formation subsequent to eIF2α phosphorylation. This is a novel finding that supports the hypothesis that the formation of subcellular protein aggregates is an important component of the successful cellular antiviral response. 10.1128/JVI.02247-10
    Vaccinia virus infection attenuates innate immune responses and antigen presentation by epidermal dendritic cells. Deng Liang,Dai Peihong,Ding Wanhong,Granstein Richard D,Shuman Stewart Journal of virology Langerhans cells (LCs) are antigen-presenting cells in the skin that play sentinel roles in host immune defense by secreting proinflammatory molecules and activating T cells. Here we studied the interaction of vaccinia virus with XS52 cells, a murine epidermis-derived dendritic cell line that serves as a surrogate model for LCs. We found that vaccinia virus productively infects XS52 cells, yet this infection displays an atypical response to anti-poxvirus agents. Whereas adenosine N1-oxide blocked virus production and viral protein synthesis during a synchronous infection, cytosine arabinoside had no effect at concentrations sufficient to prevent virus replication in BSC40 monkey kidney cells. Vaccinia virus infection of XS52 cells not only failed to elicit the production of various cytokines, including tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta), IL-6, IL-10, IL-12 p40, alpha interferon (IFN-alpha), and IFN-gamma, it actively inhibited the production of proinflammatory cytokines TNF-alpha and IL-6 by XS52 cells in response to exogenous lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or poly(I:C). Infection with a vaccinia virus mutant lacking the E3L gene resulted in TNF-alpha secretion in the absence of applied stimuli. Infection of XS52 cells or BSC40 cells with the DeltaE3L virus, but not wild-type vaccinia virus, triggered proteolytic decay of IkappaBalpha. These results suggest a novel role for the E3L protein as an antagonist of the NF-kappaB signaling pathway. DeltaE3L-infected XS52 cells secreted higher levels of TNF-alpha and IL-6 in response to LPS and poly(I:C) than did cells infected with the wild-type virus. XS52 cells were productively infected by a vaccinia virus mutant lacking the K1L gene. DeltaK1L-infected cells secreted higher levels of TNF-alpha and IL-6 in response to LPS than wild-type virus-infected cells. Vaccinia virus infection of primary LCs harvested from mouse epidermis was nonpermissive, although a viral reporter protein was expressed in the infected LCs. Vaccinia virus infection of primary LCs strongly inhibited their capacity for antigen-specific activation of T cells. Our results highlight suppression of the skin immune response as a feature of orthopoxvirus infection. 10.1128/JVI.00354-06
    Expression of the Vaccinia Virus Antiapoptotic F1 Protein Is Blocked by Protein Kinase R in the Absence of the Viral E3 Protein. Mehta Ninad,Enwere Emeka K,Santos Theodore Dos,Saffran Holly A,Hazes Bart,Evans David,Barry Michele,Smiley James R Journal of virology Poxviruses encode many proteins with the ability to regulate cellular signaling pathways. One such protein is the vaccinia virus innate immunity modulator E3. Multiple functions have been ascribed to E3, including modulating the cellular response to double-stranded RNA, inhibiting the NF-κB and IRF3 pathways, and dampening apoptosis. Apoptosis serves as a powerful defense against damaged and unwanted cells and is an effective defense against viral infection; many viruses therefore encode proteins that prevent or delay apoptosis. Here, we present data indicating that E3 does not directly inhibit the intrinsic apoptotic pathway; instead, it suppresses apoptosis indirectly by stimulating expression of the viral F1 apoptotic inhibitor. Our data demonstrate that E3 promotes F1 expression by blocking activation of the double-stranded RNA-activated protein kinase R (PKR). F1 mRNA is present in cells infected with E3-null virus, but the protein product does not detectably accumulate, suggesting a block at the translational level. We also show that two 3' coterminal transcripts span the F1 open reading frame (ORF), a situation previously described for the vaccinia virus mRNAs encoding the J3 and J4 proteins. One of these is a conventional monocistronic transcript of the F1L gene, while the other arises by read-through transcription from the upstream F2L gene and does not give rise to appreciable levels of F1 protein. Previous studies have shown that E3-deficient vaccinia virus triggers apoptosis of infected cells. Our study demonstrates that this proapoptotic phenotype stems, at least in part, from the failure of the mutant virus to produce adequate quantities of the viral F1 protein, which acts at the mitochondria to directly block apoptosis. Our data establish a regulatory link between the vaccinia virus proteins that suppress the innate response to double-stranded RNA and those that block the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. 10.1128/JVI.01167-18
    Poxviral protein E3-altered cytokine production reveals that DExD/H-box helicase 9 controls Toll-like receptor-stimulated immune responses. Dempsey Alan,Keating Sinead E,Carty Michael,Bowie Andrew G The Journal of biological chemistry Host pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) such as Toll-like receptors (TLRs) detect viruses and other pathogens, inducing production of cytokines that cause inflammation and mobilize cells to control infection. Vaccinia virus (VACV) encodes proteins that antagonize these host innate immune responses, and elucidating the mechanisms of action of these viral proteins helped shed light on PRR signaling mechanisms. The VACV virulence factor E3 is one of the most intensely studied VACV proteins and has multiple effects on host cells, many of which cannot be explained by the currently known cellular targets of E3. Here, we report that E3 expression in human monocytes alters TLR2- and TLR8-dependent cytokine induction, and particularly inhibits interleukin (IL)-6. Using MS, we identified DExD/H-box helicase 9 (DHX9) as an E3 target. Although DHX9 has previously been implicated as a PRR for sensing nucleic acid in dendritic cells, we found no role for DHX9 as a nucleic acid-sensing PRR in monocytes. Rather, DHX9 suppression in these cells phenocopied the effects of E3 expression on TLR2- and TLR8-dependent cytokine induction, in that DHX9 was required for all TLR8-dependent cytokines measured, and for TLR2-dependent IL-6. Furthermore, DHX9 also had a cell- and stimulus-independent role in IL-6 promoter induction. DHX9 enhanced NF-κB-dependent IL-6 promoter activation, which was directly antagonized by E3. These results indicate new roles for DHX9 in regulating cytokines in innate immunity and reveal that VACV E3 disrupts innate immune responses by targeting of DHX9. 10.1074/jbc.RA118.005089
    Recombinant modified vaccinia virus Ankara generating excess early double-stranded RNA transiently activates protein kinase R and triggers enhanced innate immune responses. Wolferstätter Michael,Schweneker Marc,Späth Michaela,Lukassen Susanne,Klingenberg Marieken,Brinkmann Kay,Wielert Ursula,Lauterbach Henning,Hochrein Hubertus,Chaplin Paul,Suter Mark,Hausmann Jürgen Journal of virology UNLABELLED:Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) is an important molecular pattern associated with viral infection and is detected by various extra- and intracellular recognition molecules. Poxviruses have evolved to avoid producing dsRNA early in infection but generate significant amounts of dsRNA late in infection due to convergent transcription of late genes. Protein kinase R (PKR) is activated by dsRNA and triggers major cellular defenses against viral infection, including protein synthesis shutdown, apoptosis, and type I interferon (IFN-I) production. The poxviral E3 protein binds and sequesters viral dsRNA and is a major antagonist of the PKR pathway. We found that the highly replication-restricted modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) engineered to produce excess amounts of dsRNA early in infection showed enhanced induction of IFN-β in murine and human cells in the presence of an intact E3L gene. IFN-β induction required a minimum overlap length of 300 bp between early complementary transcripts and was strongly PKR dependent. Excess early dsRNA produced by MVA activated PKR early but transiently in murine cells and induced enhanced systemic levels of IFN-α, IFN-γ, and other cytokines and chemokines in mice in a largely PKR-dependent manner. Replication-competent chorioallantois vaccinia virus Ankara (CVA) generating excess early dsRNA also enhanced IFN-I production and was apathogenic in mice even at very high doses but showed no in vitro host range defect. Thus, genetically adjuvanting MVA and CVA to generate excess early dsRNA is an effective method to enhance innate immune stimulation by orthopoxvirus vectors and to attenuate replicating vaccinia virus in vivo. IMPORTANCE:Efficient cellular sensing of pathogen-specific components, including double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), is an important prerequisite of an effective antiviral immune response. The prototype poxvirus vaccinia virus (VACV) and its derivative modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) produce dsRNA as a by-product of viral transcription. We found that inhibition of cellular dsRNA recognition established by the virus-encoded proteins E3 and K3 can be overcome by directing viral overexpression of dsRNA early in infection without compromising replication of MVA in permissive cells. Early dsRNA induced transient activation of the cellular dsRNA sensor protein kinase R (PKR), resulting in enhanced production of interferons and cytokines in cells and mice. Enhancing the capacity of MVA to activate the innate immune system is an important approach to further improve the immunogenicity of this promising vaccine vector. 10.1128/JVI.02082-14
    Identification of 10 cowpox virus proteins that are necessary for induction of hemorrhagic lesions (red pocks) on chorioallantoic membranes. Xu Zhiyong,Zikos Dimitrios,Tamošiūnaitė Aistė,Klopfleisch Robert,Osterrieder Nikolaus,Tischer B Karsten Journal of virology UNLABELLED:Cowpox viruses (CPXV) cause hemorrhagic lesions ("red pocks") on infected chorioallantoic membranes (CAM) of embryonated chicken eggs, while most other members of the genus Orthopoxvirus produce nonhemorrhagic lesions ("white pocks"). Cytokine response modifier A (CrmA) of CPXV strain Brighton Red (BR) is necessary but not sufficient for the induction of red pocks. To identify additional viral proteins involved in the induction of hemorrhagic lesions, a library of single-gene CPXV knockout mutants was screened. We identified 10 proteins that are required for the formation of hemorrhagic lesions, which are encoded by CPXV060, CPXV064, CPXV068, CPXV069, CPXV074, CPXV136, CPXV168, CPXV169, CPXV172, and CPXV199. The genes are the homologues of F12L, F15L, E2L, E3L, E8R, A4L, A33R, A34R, A36R, and B5R of vaccinia virus (VACV). Mutants with deletions in CPXV060, CPXV168, CPXV169, CPXV172, or CPXV199 induced white pocks with a comet-like shape on the CAM. The homologues of these five genes in VACV encode proteins that are involved in the production of extracellular enveloped viruses (EEV) and the repulsion of superinfecting virions by actin tails. The homologue of CPXV068 in VACV is also involved in EEV production but is not related to actin tail induction. The other genes encode immunomodulatory proteins (CPXV069 and crmA) and viral core proteins (CPXV074 and CPXV136), and the function of the product of CPXV064 is unknown. IMPORTANCE:It has been known for a long time that cowpox virus induces hemorrhagic lesions on chicken CAM, while most of the other orthopoxviruses produce nonhemorrhagic lesions. Although cowpox virus CrmA has been proved to be responsible for the hemorrhagic phenotype, other proteins causing this phenotype remain unknown. Recently, we generated a complete single-gene knockout bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library of cowpox virus Brighton strain. Out of 183 knockout BAC clones, 109 knockout viruses were reconstituted. The knockout library makes possible high-throughput screening for studying poxvirus replication and pathogenesis. In this study, we screened all 109 single-gene knockout viruses and identified 10 proteins necessary for inducing hemorrhagic lesions. The identification of these genes gives a new perspective for studying the hemorrhagic phenotype and may give a better understanding of poxvirus virulence. 10.1128/JVI.00901-14
    Adaptive gene amplification as an intermediate step in the expansion of virus host range. Brennan Greg,Kitzman Jacob O,Rothenburg Stefan,Shendure Jay,Geballe Adam P PLoS pathogens The majority of recently emerging infectious diseases in humans is due to cross-species pathogen transmissions from animals. To establish a productive infection in new host species, viruses must overcome barriers to replication mediated by diverse and rapidly evolving host restriction factors such as protein kinase R (PKR). Many viral antagonists of these restriction factors are species specific. For example, the rhesus cytomegalovirus PKR antagonist, RhTRS1, inhibits PKR in some African green monkey (AGM) cells, but does not inhibit human or rhesus macaque PKR. To model the evolutionary changes necessary for cross-species transmission, we generated a recombinant vaccinia virus that expresses RhTRS1 in a strain that lacks PKR inhibitors E3L and K3L (VVΔEΔK+RhTRS1). Serially passaging VVΔEΔK+RhTRS1 in minimally-permissive AGM cells increased viral replication 10- to 100-fold. Notably, adaptation in these AGM cells also improved virus replication 1000- to 10,000-fold in human and rhesus cells. Genetic analyses including deep sequencing revealed amplification of the rhtrs1 locus in the adapted viruses. Supplying additional rhtrs1 in trans confirmed that amplification alone was sufficient to improve VVΔEΔK+RhTRS1 replication. Viruses with amplified rhtrs1 completely blocked AGM PKR, but only partially blocked human PKR, consistent with the replication properties of these viruses in AGM and human cells. Finally, in contrast to AGM-adapted viruses, which could be serially propagated in human cells, VVΔEΔK+RhTRS1 yielded no progeny virus after only three passages in human cells. Thus, rhtrs1 amplification in a minimally permissive intermediate host was a necessary step, enabling expansion of the virus range to previously nonpermissive hosts. These data support the hypothesis that amplification of a weak viral antagonist may be a general evolutionary mechanism to permit replication in otherwise resistant host species, providing a molecular foothold that could enable further adaptations necessary for efficient replication in the new host. 10.1371/journal.ppat.1004002
    Proteins that contain a functional Z-DNA-binding domain localize to cytoplasmic stress granules. Ng Siew Kit,Weissbach Rebekka,Ronson George E,Scadden A D J Nucleic acids research Long double-stranded RNA may undergo hyper-editing by adenosine deaminases that act on RNA (ADARs), where up to 50% of adenosine residues may be converted to inosine. However, although numerous RNAs may undergo hyper-editing, the role for inosine-containing hyper-edited double-stranded RNA in cells is poorly understood. Nevertheless, editing plays a critical role in mammalian cells, as highlighted by the analysis of ADAR-null mutants. In particular, the long form of ADAR1 (ADAR1(p150)) is essential for viability. Moreover, a number of studies have implicated ADAR1(p150) in various stress pathways. We have previously shown that ADAR1(p150) localized to cytoplasmic stress granules in HeLa cells following either oxidative or interferon-induced stress. Here, we show that the Z-DNA-binding domain (Zα(ADAR1)) exclusively found in ADAR1(p150) is required for its localization to stress granules. Moreover, we show that fusion of Zα(ADAR1) to either green fluorescent protein (GFP) or polypyrimidine binding protein 4 (PTB4) also results in their localization to stress granules. We additionally show that the Zα domain from other Z-DNA-binding proteins (ZBP1, E3L) is likewise sufficient for localization to stress granules. Finally, we show that Z-RNA or Z-DNA binding is important for stress granule localization. We have thus identified a novel role for Z-DNA-binding domains in mammalian cells. 10.1093/nar/gkt750
    Structural basis for Z-DNA binding and stabilization by the zebrafish Z-DNA dependent protein kinase PKZ. de Rosa Matteo,Zacarias Sonia,Athanasiadis Alekos Nucleic acids research The RNA-dependent protein kinase PKR plays a central role in the antiviral defense of vertebrates by shutting down protein translation upon detection of viral dsRNA in the cytoplasm. In some teleost fish, PKZ, a homolog of PKR, performs the same function, but surprisingly, instead of dsRNA binding domains, it harbors two Z-DNA/Z-RNA-binding domains belonging to the Zalpha domain family. Zalpha domains have also been found in other proteins, which have key roles in the regulation of interferon responses such as ADAR1 and DNA-dependent activator of IFN-regulatory factors (DAI) and in viral proteins involved in immune response evasion such as the poxviral E3L and the Cyprinid Herpesvirus 3 ORF112. The underlying mechanism of nucleic acids binding and stabilization by Zalpha domains is still unclear. Here, we present two crystal structures of the zebrafish PKZ Zalpha domain (DrZalpha(PKZ)) in alternatively organized complexes with a (CG)6 DNA oligonucleotide at 2 and 1.8 Å resolution. These structures reveal novel aspects of the Zalpha interaction with DNA, and they give insights on the arrangement of multiple Zalpha domains on DNA helices longer than the minimal binding site. 10.1093/nar/gkt743
    Double-stranded RNA binding by the human cytomegalovirus PKR antagonist TRS1. Bierle Craig J,Semmens Kathryn M,Geballe Adam P Virology Protein Kinase R (PKR) inhibits translation initiation following double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) binding and thereby represses viral replication. Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) encodes two noncanonical dsRNA binding proteins, IRS1 and TRS1, and the expression of at least one of these PKR antagonists is essential for HCMV replication. In this study, we investigated the role of dsRNA binding by TRS1 in PKR inhibition. We found that purified TRS1 binds specifically to dsRNA with an affinity lower than that of PKR. Point mutants in the TRS1 dsRNA binding domain that were deficient in rescuing the replication of vaccinia virus lacking its PKR antagonist E3L were unable to bind to dsRNA but retained the ability bind to PKR. Thus TRS1 binding to dsRNA and to PKR are separable. Overall, our results are most consistent with a model in which TRS1 binds simultaneously to both dsRNA and PKR to inhibit PKR activation. 10.1016/j.virol.2013.03.024
    A survey of host range genes in poxvirus genomes. Bratke Kirsten A,McLysaght Aoife,Rothenburg Stefan Infection, genetics and evolution : journal of molecular epidemiology and evolutionary genetics in infectious diseases Poxviruses are widespread pathogens, which display extremely different host ranges. Whereas some poxviruses, including variola virus, display narrow host ranges, others such as cowpox viruses naturally infect a wide range of mammals. The molecular basis for differences in host range are poorly understood but apparently depend on the successful manipulation of the host antiviral response. Some poxvirus genes have been shown to confer host tropism in experimental settings and are thus called host range factors. Identified host range genes include vaccinia virus K1L, K3L, E3L, B5R, C7L and SPI-1, cowpox virus CP77/CHOhr, ectromelia virus p28 and 022, and myxoma virus T2, T4, T5, 11L, 13L, 062R and 063R. These genes encode for ankyrin repeat-containing proteins, tumor necrosis factor receptor II homologs, apoptosis inhibitor T4-related proteins, Bcl-2-related proteins, pyrin domain-containing proteins, cellular serine protease inhibitors (serpins), short complement-like repeats containing proteins, KilA-N/RING domain-containing proteins, as well as inhibitors of the double-stranded RNA-activated protein kinase PKR. We conducted a systematic survey for the presence of known host range genes and closely related family members in poxvirus genomes, classified them into subgroups based on their phylogenetic relationship and correlated their presence with the poxvirus phylogeny. Common themes in the evolution of poxvirus host range genes are lineage-specific duplications and multiple independent inactivation events. Our analyses yield new insights into the evolution of poxvirus host range genes. Implications of our findings for poxvirus host range and virulence are discussed. 10.1016/j.meegid.2012.12.002
    Antagonism of the protein kinase R pathway by the guinea pig cytomegalovirus US22-family gene gp145. Bierle Craig J,Schleiss Mark R,Geballe Adam P Virology Viral double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) activates protein kinase R (PKR), which phosphorylates eIF2α and inhibits translation. In response, viruses have evolved various strategies to evade the antiviral impact of PKR. We investigated whether guinea pig cytomegalovirus (GPCMV), a useful model of congenital CMV infection, encodes a gene that interferes with the PKR pathway. Using a proteomic screen, we identified several GPCMV dsRNA-binding proteins, among which only gp145 rescued replication of a vaccinia virus mutant that lacks E3L. gp145 also reversed the inhibitory effects of PKR on expression of a cotransfected reporter gene. Mapping studies demonstrated that the gp145 dsRNA-binding domain has homology to the PKR antagonists of other CMVs. However, dsRNA-binding by gp145 is not sufficient for it to block PKR. gp145 differs from the PKR antagonists of murine CMV in that it functions alone and from those encoded by human CMV in functioning in cells from both primates and rodents. 10.1016/j.virol.2012.08.005
    Inhibition of DAI-dependent necroptosis by the Z-DNA binding domain of the vaccinia virus innate immune evasion protein, E3. Koehler Heather,Cotsmire Samantha,Langland Jeffrey,Kibler Karen V,Kalman Daniel,Upton Jason W,Mocarski Edward S,Jacobs Bertram L Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Vaccinia virus (VACV) encodes an innate immune evasion protein, E3, which contains an N-terminal Z-nucleic acid binding (Zα) domain that is critical for pathogenicity in mice. Here we demonstrate that the N terminus of E3 is necessary to inhibit an IFN-primed virus-induced necroptosis. VACV deleted of the Zα domain of E3 (VACV-E3LΔ83N) induced rapid RIPK3-dependent cell death in IFN-treated L929 cells. Cell death was inhibited by the RIPK3 inhibitor, GSK872, and infection with this mutant virus led to phosphorylation and aggregation of MLKL, the executioner of necroptosis. In 293T cells, induction of necroptosis depended on expression of RIPK3 as well as the host-encoded Zα domain-containing DNA sensor, DAI. VACV-E3LΔ83N is attenuated in vivo, and pathogenicity was restored in either RIPK3- or DAI-deficient mice. These data demonstrate that the N terminus of the VACV E3 protein prevents DAI-mediated induction of necroptosis. 10.1073/pnas.1700999114
    Opposing Roles of Double-Stranded RNA Effector Pathways and Viral Defense Proteins Revealed with CRISPR-Cas9 Knockout Cell Lines and Vaccinia Virus Mutants. Liu Ruikang,Moss Bernard Journal of virology UNLABELLED:Vaccinia virus (VACV) decapping enzymes and cellular exoribonuclease Xrn1 catalyze successive steps in mRNA degradation and prevent double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) accumulation, whereas the viral E3 protein can bind dsRNA. We showed that dsRNA and E3 colocalized within cytoplasmic viral factories in cells infected with a decapping enzyme mutant as well as with wild-type VACV and that they coprecipitated with antibody. An E3 deletion mutant induced protein kinase R (PKR) and eukaryotic translation initiation factor alpha (eIF2α) phosphorylation earlier and more strongly than a decapping enzyme mutant even though less dsRNA was made, leading to more profound effects on viral gene expression. Human HAP1 and A549 cells were genetically modified by clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat-Cas9 (CRISPR-Cas9) to determine whether the same pathways restrict E3 and decapping mutants. The E3 mutant replicated in PKR knockout (KO) HAP1 cells in which RNase L is intrinsically inactive but only with a double knockout (DKO) of PKR and RNase L in A549 cells, indicating that both pathways decreased replication equivalently and that no additional dsRNA pathway was crucial. In contrast, replication of the decapping enzyme mutant increased significantly (though less than that of wild-type virus) in DKO A549 cells but not in DKO HAP1 cells where a smaller increase in viral protein synthesis occurred. Xrn1 KO A549 cells were viable but nonpermissive for VACV; however, wild-type and mutant viruses replicated in triple-KO cells in which RNase L and PKR were also inactivated. Since KO of PKR and RNase L was sufficient to enable VACV replication in the absence of E3 or Xrn1, the poor replication of the decapping mutant, particularly in HAP1 DKO, cells indicated additional translational defects. IMPORTANCE:Viruses have evolved ways of preventing or counteracting the cascade of antiviral responses that double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) triggers in host cells. We showed that the dsRNA produced in excess in cells infected with a vaccinia virus (VACV) decapping enzyme mutant and by wild-type virus colocalized with the viral E3 protein in cytoplasmic viral factories. Novel human cell lines defective in either or both protein kinase R and RNase L dsRNA effector pathways and/or the cellular 5' exonuclease Xrn1 were prepared by CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing. Inactivation of both pathways was necessary and sufficient to allow full replication of the E3 mutant and reverse the defect cause by inactivation of Xrn1, whereas the decapping enzyme mutant still exhibited defects in gene expression. The study provided new insights into functions of the VACV proteins, and the well-characterized panel of CRISPR-Cas9-modified human cell lines should have broad applicability for studying innate dsRNA pathways. 10.1128/JVI.00869-16
    Modified vaccinia virus Ankara triggers type I IFN production in murine conventional dendritic cells via a cGAS/STING-mediated cytosolic DNA-sensing pathway. Dai Peihong,Wang Weiyi,Cao Hua,Avogadri Francesca,Dai Lianpan,Drexler Ingo,Joyce Johanna A,Li Xiao-Dong,Chen Zhijian,Merghoub Taha,Shuman Stewart,Deng Liang PLoS pathogens Modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) is an attenuated poxvirus that has been engineered as a vaccine against infectious agents and cancers. Our goal is to understand how MVA modulates innate immunity in dendritic cells (DCs), which can provide insights to vaccine design. In this study, using murine bone marrow-derived dendritic cells, we assessed type I interferon (IFN) gene induction and protein secretion in response to MVA infection. We report that MVA infection elicits the production of type I IFN in murine conventional dendritic cells (cDCs), but not in plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs). Transcription factors IRF3 (IFN regulatory factor 3) and IRF7, and the positive feedback loop mediated by IFNAR1 (IFN alpha/beta receptor 1), are required for the induction. MVA induction of type I IFN is fully dependent on STING (stimulator of IFN genes) and the newly discovered cytosolic DNA sensor cGAS (cyclic guanosine monophosphate-adenosine monophosphate synthase). MVA infection of cDCs triggers phosphorylation of TBK1 (Tank-binding kinase 1) and IRF3, which is abolished in the absence of cGAS and STING. Furthermore, intravenous delivery of MVA induces type I IFN in wild-type mice, but not in mice lacking STING or IRF3. Treatment of cDCs with inhibitors of endosomal and lysosomal acidification or the lysosomal enzyme Cathepsin B attenuated MVA-induced type I IFN production, indicating that lysosomal enzymatic processing of virions is important for MVA sensing. Taken together, our results demonstrate a critical role of the cGAS/STING-mediated cytosolic DNA-sensing pathway for type I IFN induction in cDCs by MVA. We present evidence that vaccinia virulence factors E3 and N1 inhibit the activation of IRF3 and the induction of IFNB gene in MVA-infected cDCs. 10.1371/journal.ppat.1003989
    ISG15 is counteracted by vaccinia virus E3 protein and controls the proinflammatory response against viral infection. Eduardo-Correia Benedito,Martínez-Romero Carles,García-Sastre Adolfo,Guerra Susana Journal of virology Conjugation of ISG15 inhibits replication of several viruses. Here, using an expression system for assaying human and mouse ISG15 conjugations (ISGylations), we have demonstrated that vaccinia virus E3 protein binds and antagonizes human and mouse ISG15 modification. To study ISGylation importance in poxvirus infection, we used a mouse model that expresses deconjugating proteases. Our results indicate that ISGylation restricts in vitro replication of the vaccinia virus VVΔE3L mutant but unconjugated ISG15 is crucial to counteract the inflammatory response produced after VVΔE3L infection. 10.1128/JVI.03293-13
    Myxoma virus protein M029 is a dual function immunomodulator that inhibits PKR and also conscripts RHA/DHX9 to promote expanded host tropism and viral replication. Rahman Masmudur M,Liu Jia,Chan Winnie M,Rothenburg Stefan,McFadden Grant PLoS pathogens Myxoma virus (MYXV)-encoded protein M029 is a member of the poxvirus E3 family of dsRNA-binding proteins that antagonize the cellular interferon signaling pathways. In order to investigate additional functions of M029, we have constructed a series of targeted M029-minus (vMyx-M029KO and vMyx-M029ID) and V5-tagged M029 MYXV. We found that M029 plays a pivotal role in determining the cellular tropism of MYXV in all mammalian cells tested. The M029-minus viruses were able to replicate only in engineered cell lines that stably express a complementing protein, such as vaccinia E3, but underwent abortive or abated infection in all other tested mammalian cell lines. The M029-minus viruses were dramatically attenuated in susceptible host European rabbits and caused no observable signs of myxomatosis. Using V5-tagged M029 virus, we observed that M029 expressed as an early viral protein is localized in both the nuclear and cytosolic compartments in virus-infected cells, and is also incorporated into virions. Using proteomic approaches, we have identified Protein Kinase R (PKR) and RNA helicase A (RHA)/DHX9 as two cellular binding partners of M029 protein. In virus-infected cells, M029 interacts with PKR in a dsRNA-dependent manner, while binding with DHX9 was not dependent on dsRNA. Significantly, PKR knockdown in human cells rescued the replication defect of the M029-knockout viruses. Unexpectedly, this rescue of M029-minus virus replication by PKR depletion could then be reversed by RHA/DHX9 knockdown in human monocytic THP1 cells. This indicates that M029 not only inhibits generic PKR anti-viral pathways, but also binds and conscripts RHA/DHX9 as a pro-viral effector to promote virus replication in THP1 cells. Thus, M029 is a critical host range and virulence factor for MYXV that is required for replication in all mammalian cells by antagonizing PKR-mediated anti-viral functions, and also conscripts pro-viral RHA/DHX9 to promote viral replication specifically in myeloid cells. 10.1371/journal.ppat.1003465
    Characterization of a ranavirus inhibitor of the antiviral protein kinase PKR. Rothenburg Stefan,Chinchar V Gregory,Dever Thomas E BMC microbiology BACKGROUND:Ranaviruses (family Iridoviridae) are important pathogens of lower vertebrates. However, little is known about how they circumvent the immune response of their hosts. Many ranaviruses contain a predicted protein, designated vIF2α, which shows homology with the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 2α. In analogy to distantly related proteins found in poxviruses vIF2α might act as an inhibitor of the antiviral protein kinase PKR. RESULTS:We have characterized the function of vIF2α from Rana catesbeiana virus Z (RCV-Z). Multiple sequence alignments and secondary structure prediction revealed homology of vIF2α with eIF2α throughout the S1-, helical- and C-terminal domains. Genetic and biochemical analyses showed that vIF2α blocked the toxic effects of human and zebrafish PKR in a heterologous yeast system. Rather than complementing eIF2α function, vIF2α acted in a manner comparable to the vaccinia virus (VACV) K3L protein (K3), a pseudosubstrate inhibitor of PKR. Both vIF2α and K3 inhibited human PKR-mediated eIF2α phosphorylation, but not PKR autophosphorylation on Thr446. In contrast the E3L protein (E3), another poxvirus inhibitor of PKR, inhibited both Thr446 and eIF2α Ser51 phosphorylation. Interestingly, phosphorylation of eIF2α by zebrafish PKR was inhibited by vIF2α and E3, but not by K3. Effective inhibition of PKR activity coincided with increased PKR expression levels, indicative of relieved autoinhibition of PKR expression. Experiments with vIF2α deletion constructs, showed that both the N-terminal and helical domains were sufficient for inhibition of PKR, whereas the C-terminal domain was dispensable. CONCLUSIONS:Our results show that RCV-Z vIF2α is a functional inhibitor of human and zebrafish PKR, and probably functions in similar fashion as VACV K3. This constitutes an important step in understanding the interaction of ranaviruses and the host innate immune system. 10.1186/1471-2180-11-56
    Z-DNA binding proteins as targets for structure-based virtual screening. Kim Doyoun,Lee Young-Ho,Hwang Hye-Yeon,Kim Kyeong Kyu,Park Hyun-Ju Current drug targets Z-DNA, the alternative form of double-stranded DNA involved in a variety of nucleotide metabolism, is recognized and stabilized by specific Z-DNA binding proteins (ZBPs). Three ZBPs known in vertebrates -ADAR1, DAI and PKZ- modulate innate immunity, particularly, the IFN-induced immune response. The E3L protein of the vaccinia virus appears to compete with the host ZBP for Z-DNA binding, thereby suppressing the host immune system. ZBPs are, therefore, considered to be attractive therapeutic targets for infectious and immune diseases. Recent advances in computer-aided drug development combined with the high-resolution crystal and NMR structures of ZBPs have enabled us to discover novel candidates as ZBP inhibitors. In this study, we present an overview of Z-DNA and known ZBPs as drug targets, and summarize recent progress in the structure-based identification of ZBP inhibitors.
    The Zalpha domain of PKZ from Carassius auratus can bind to d(GC)(n) in negative supercoils. Wu Chu-Xin,Wang Shu-Jun,Lin Gang,Hu Cheng-Yu Fish & shellfish immunology PKZ was the most recently discovered member of eIF2alpha kinase family in fish. CaPKZ, the first identified fish PKZ, possessed a conserved eIF2alpha kinase catalytic domain in C-terminal and two Z-DNA binding domains (Zalpha) in N-terminal. The Zalpha of CaPKZ closely resembled that of other Z-DNA binding proteins: ADAR1, DLM-1, and E3L. In order to understand more about the function of CaPKZ, we expressed and purified three constructed peptides of CaPKZ (P(Zalpha)): P(Zalpha1Zalpha2), P(Zalpha1Zalpha1) and P(Zalpha2)(Zalpha2). Moreover, most of the plasmids containing d(GC)(n) inserts were maintained in the Z-conformation, as confirmed by using inhibition of methylation experiments and anti-Z-DNA antibody. Gel mobility shift assays were then used to examine the affinity of these P(Zalpha) to the recombinant plasmids. Meanwhile, a competition experiment using P(Zalpha1Zalpha2) and anti-Z-DNA antibody was performed. The results revealed that P(Zalpha1Zalpha2) and P(Zalpha1Zalpha1) were able to bind to the recombinant plasmids with high affinity, whereas P(Zalpha2)(Zalpha2) could not bind to it. In addition, dimerization of P(Zalpha1Zalpha2) indicated the function unit of Zalpha of CaPKZ would be a dimer. 10.1016/j.fsi.2010.01.021
    Innate immune response of human plasmacytoid dendritic cells to poxvirus infection is subverted by vaccinia E3 via its Z-DNA/RNA binding domain. Cao Hua,Dai Peihong,Wang Weiyi,Li Hao,Yuan Jianda,Wang Fangjin,Fang Chee-Mun,Pitha Paula M,Liu Jia,Condit Richard C,McFadden Grant,Merghoub Taha,Houghton Alan N,Young James W,Shuman Stewart,Deng Liang PloS one Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) play important roles in antiviral innate immunity by producing type I interferon (IFN). In this study, we assess the immune responses of primary human pDCs to two poxviruses, vaccinia and myxoma virus. Vaccinia, an orthopoxvirus, was used for immunization against smallpox, a contagious human disease with high mortality. Myxoma virus, a Leporipoxvirus, causes lethal disease in rabbits, but is non-pathogenic in humans. We report that myxoma virus infection of human pDCs induces IFN-α and TNF production, whereas vaccinia infection does not. Co-infection of pDCs with myxoma virus plus vaccinia blocks myxoma induction effects. We find that heat-inactivated vaccinia (Heat-VAC; by incubating the virus at 55°C for 1 h) gains the ability to induce IFN-α and TNF in primary human pDCs. Induction of IFN-α in pDCs by myxoma virus or Heat-VAC is blocked by chloroquine, which inhibits endosomal acidification required for TLR7/9 signaling, and by inhibitors of cellular kinases PI3K and Akt. Using purified pDCs from genetic knockout mice, we demonstrate that Heat-VAC-induced type I IFN production in pDCs requires the endosomal RNA sensor TLR7 and its adaptor MyD88, transcription factor IRF7 and the type I IFN feedback loop mediated by IFNAR1. These results indicate that (i) vaccinia virus, but not myxoma virus, expresses inhibitor(s) of the poxvirus sensing pathway(s) in pDCs; and (ii) Heat-VAC infection fails to produce inhibitor(s) but rather produces novel activator(s), likely viral RNA transcripts that are sensed by the TLR7/MyD88 pathway. Using vaccinia gene deletion mutants, we show that the Z-DNA/RNA binding domain at the N-terminus of the vaccinia immunomodulatory E3 protein is an antagonist of the innate immune response of human pDCs to poxvirus infection and TLR agonists. The myxoma virus ortholog of vaccinia E3 (M029) lacks the N-terminal Z-DNA/RNA binding domain, which might contribute to the immunostimulating properties of myxoma virus. 10.1371/journal.pone.0036823
    Regulation of vaccinia virus E3 protein by small ubiquitin-like modifier proteins. González-Santamaría José,Campagna Michela,García María Angel,Marcos-Villar Laura,González Dolores,Gallego Pedro,Lopitz-Otsoa Fernando,Guerra Susana,Rodríguez Manuel S,Esteban Mariano,Rivas Carmen Journal of virology The vaccinia virus (VACV) E3 protein is essential for virulence and has antiapoptotic activity and the ability to impair the host innate immune response. Here we demonstrate that E3 interacts with SUMO1 through a small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO)-interacting motif (SIM). SIM integrity is required for maintaining the stability of the viral protein and for the covalent conjugation of E3 to SUMO1 or SUMO2, a modification that has a negative effect on the E3 transcriptional transactivation of the p53-upregulated modulator of apoptosis (PUMA) and APAF-1 genes. We also demonstrate that E3 is ubiquitinated, a modification that does not destabilize the wild-type protein but triggers the degradation of an E3-ΔSIM mutant. This report constitutes the first demonstration of the important roles that both SUMO and ubiquitin play in the regulation of the VACV protein E3. 10.1128/JVI.05628-11
    Comparative analysis of poxvirus orthologues of the vaccinia virus E3 protein: modulation of protein kinase R activity, cytokine responses, and virus pathogenicity. Myskiw Chad,Arsenio Janilyn,Hammett Craig,van Bruggen Rebekah,Deschambault Yvon,Beausoleil Nicole,Babiuk Shawn,Cao Jingxin Journal of virology Poxviruses are important human and animal pathogens that have evolved elaborate strategies for antagonizing host innate and adaptive immunity. The E3 protein of vaccinia virus, the prototypic member of the orthopoxviruses, functions as an inhibitor of innate immune signaling and is essential for vaccinia virus replication in vivo and in many human cell culture systems. However, the function of orthologues of E3 expressed by poxviruses of other genera with different host specificity remains largely unknown. In the present study, we characterized the E3 orthologues from sheeppox virus, yaba monkey tumor virus, swinepox virus, and myxoma virus for their ability to modulate protein kinase R (PKR) function, cytokine responses and virus pathogenicity. We found that the E3 orthologues of myxoma virus and swinepox virus could suppress PKR activation and interferon (IFN)-induced antiviral activities and restore the host range function of E3 in HeLa cells. In contrast, the E3 orthologues from sheeppox virus and yaba monkey tumor virus were unable to inhibit PKR activation. While the sheeppox orthologue was unable to restore the host range function of E3, the yaba monkey tumor virus orthologue partially restored E3-deficient vaccinia virus replication in HeLa cells, correlated with its ability to suppress IFN-induced antiviral activities. Moreover, poxvirus E3 orthologues show varying ability to inhibit the induction of antiviral and proinflammatory cytokines. Despite these in vitro results, none of the E3 orthologues tested was capable of restoring pathogenicity to E3-deficient vaccinia virus in vivo. 10.1128/JVI.05505-11
    Inhibition of the RNA polymerase III-mediated dsDNA-sensing pathway of innate immunity by vaccinia virus protein E3. Valentine Robert,Smith Geoffrey L The Journal of general virology The vaccinia virus E3 protein is an important intracellular modulator of innate immunity that can be split into distinct halves. The C terminus contains a well defined dsRNA-binding domain, whereas the N terminus contains a Z-DNA-binding domain, and both domains are required for virulence. In this study, we investigated whether the E3 Z-DNA-binding domain functions by sequestering cytoplasmic dsDNA thereby preventing the induction of type I interferon (IFN). In line with this hypothesis, expression of E3 ablated both IFN-beta expression and NF-kappaB activity in response to the dsDNA, poly(dA-dT). However, surprisingly, the ability of E3 to block poly(dA-dT) signalling was independent of the N terminus, whereas the dsRNA-binding domain was essential, suggesting that the Z-DNA-binding domain does not bind immunostimulatory dsDNA. This was confirmed by the failure of E3 to co-precipitate with biotinylated dsDNA, whereas the recruitment of several cytoplasmic DNA-binding proteins could be detected. Recently, AT-rich dsDNA was reported to be transcribed into 5'-triphosphate poly(A-U) RNA by RNA polymerase III, which then activates retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I). Consistent with this, RNA from poly(dA-dT) transfected cells induced IFN-beta and expression of the E3 dsRNA-binding domain was sufficient to ablate this response. Given the well documented function of the E3 dsRNA-binding domain we propose that E3 blocks signalling in response to poly(dA-dT) by binding to transcribed poly(A-U) RNA preventing RIG-I activation. This report describes a DNA virus-encoded inhibitor of the RNA polymerase III-dsDNA-sensing pathway and extends our knowledge of E3 as a modulator of innate immunity. 10.1099/vir.0.021998-0