REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202105.0362.v1
Online: 16 May 2021 (22:27:20 CEST)
Alphaviruses are positive-sense RNA arboviruses that are capable of causing severe disease in otherwise healthy individuals. There are many aspects of viral infection that determine pathogenesis and major efforts regarding the identification and characterization of virulence determinants have largely focused on the roles of the nonstructural and structural proteins. Nonetheless, the viral RNAs of the alphaviruses themselves play important roles in regard to virulence and pathogenesis. In particular, many sequences and secondary structures within the viral RNAs play an important part in the development of disease and may be considered important determinants of virulence. In this review article, we summarize the known RNA-based virulence traits and host:RNA interactions that influence alphaviral pathogenesis for each of the viral RNA species produced during infection. Overall, the viral RNAs produced during infection are important contributors to alphaviral pathogenesis and more research is needed to fully understand how each RNA species impacts the host response to infection as well as the development of disease.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202107.0508.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: Alphavirus; Antibody; Assembly; Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus; Structure
Online: 22 July 2021 (07:52:20 CEST)
Alphaviruses are arboviruses that cause arthritis and encephalitis in humans. Eastern Equine Encephalitis Virus (EEEV) is a mosquito transmitted alphavirus that is implicated in severe encephalitis in humans with high mortality. However, limited insights are available into its fundamental biology of EEEV and residue-level details of its interactions with host proteins. In recent years, outbreaks of EEEV have been reported mainly in the United States, raising concerns about public safety. This review article summarizes recent advances in the structural biology of EEEV based mainly on recent single particle cryogenic electron microscopy (cryoEM) structures. Together with functional analyses of EEEV and related alphaviruses, these structural investigations provide clues to how EEEV interacts with host proteins, which may open avenues for the development of therapeutics.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201910.0121.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Virology Keywords: alphavirus; vaccine; arbovirus; animal models; nonhuman primates; electrocardiography; ecg; aerosol; encephalitis; equine
Online: 11 October 2019 (03:32:33 CEST)
Eastern (EEEV) and Venezuelan (VEEV) equine encephalitis viruses (EEVs) are related, (+)ssRNA arboviruses that can cause severe, sometimes fatal, encephalitis in humans. EEVs are highly infectious when aerosolized, raising concerns for potential use as biological weapons. No licensed medical countermeasures exist; given the severity/rarity of natural EEV infections, efficacy studies require animal models. Cynomolgus macaques exposed to EEV aerosols develop fever, encephalitis, and other clinical signs similar to humans. Fever is nonspecific for encephalitis in macaques. Electrocardiography (ECG) metrics may predict onset, severity, or outcome of EEV-attributable disease. Macaques were implanted with thermometry/ECG radiotransmitters and exposed to aerosolized EEV. Data was collected continuously, and repeated-measures ANOVA and frequency-spectrum analyses identified differences between courses of illness and between pre-exposure and post-exposure states. EEEV-infected macaques manifested widened QRS-intervals in severely ill subjects post-exposure. Moreover, QT-intervals and RR-intervals decreased during the febrile period. VEEV-infected macaques suffered decreased QT-intervals and RR-intervals with fever onset. Frequency-spectrum analyses revealed differences in the fundamental frequencies of multiple metrics in the post-exposure and febrile periods compared to baseline and confirmed circadian dysfunction. Heart rate variability (HRV) analyses revealed diminished variability post-exposure. These analyses support using ECG data alongside fever and clinical laboratory findings for evaluating medical countermeasure efficacy.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202108.0536.v1
Subject: Biology, Other Keywords: interferon gamma; cancer immunotherapy; viral vectors; alphavirus; bone marrow-derived macrophages; spheroids; CD38; Pam3CSK4
Online: 30 August 2021 (10:18:08 CEST)
Interferon gamma (IFNg) is a pleiotropic cytokine that can potentially reprogramme the tumour microenvironment. However, the antitumour immunomodulatory properties of IFNg still need to be validated due to variable therapeutic outcomes in preclinical and clinical studies. We developed a replication-deficient Semliki Forest virus vector expressing IFNg (SFV/IFNg) and evaluated its immunomodulatory antitumour potential in vitro in a model of 3D spheroids and in vivo in immunocompetent 4T1 mouse breast cancer model. We demonstrated that SFV-derived IFN-g stimulated bone marrow macrophages to acquire the tumoricidal M1 phenotype in 3D nonattached conditions. Coculturing SFV/IFNg-infected 4T1 spheroids with BMDMs inhibited spheroid growth. In the orthotopic 4T1 mouse model, intratumoural administration of SFV/IFNg virus particles alone or in combination with the Pam3CSK4 TLR2/1 ligand led to significant inhibition of tumour growth compared to the administration of the control SFV/Luc virus particles. Analysis of the composition of intra-tumoural lymphoid cells isolated from tumours after SFV/IFNg treatment revealed an increase in CD4+ and CD8+ and a decrease in T-reg (CD4+/CD25+/FoxP3+) cell populations. Furthermore, a significant decrease in the populations of cells bearing myeloid cell markers CD11b, CD38 and CD206 was observed. In conclusion, the SFV/IFNg vector induces a therapeutic antitumour T-cell response and inhibits myeloid cell infiltration in treated tumours.
CASE REPORT | doi:10.20944/preprints202103.0680.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: Acute febrile illness; Alphavirus; chikungunya virus; post-chikungunya musculoskeletal disorder; post-chikungunya chronic inflammatory rheumatism
Online: 29 March 2021 (10:56:13 CEST)
Chikungunya virus is a re-emerging mosquito-borne alphavirus. Outbreaks are unpredictable and explosive in nature. Fever, arthralgia, and rash are common symptoms during the acute phase. Diagnostic tests are required to differentiate chikungunya virus from other co-circulating arboviruses, as symptoms can overlap, causing a dilemma for clinicians. Arthritis is observed during the sub-acute and chronic phases, which can flare up, resulting in increased morbidity that adversely affects activities of daily living. During the 2019 chikungunya epidemic in Thailand, cases surged in Bangkok in the last quarter of the year. Here, we demonstrate the chronic sequelae of post-chikungunya arthritis in one of our patients 1 year after the initial infection. An inflammatory process involving edema, erythema, and tenderness to palpation of her fingers' flexor surfaces was observed, with positive chikungunya IgG and negative IgM tests and antigen. The condition produced stiffness in the patient’s fingers and limited their range of motion, adversely affecting daily living activities. Resolution of symptoms was observed with a short course of an anti-inflammatory agent. More research is required to determine whether sanctuaries enable chikungunya virus to evade the host immune response and remain latent, flaring up months later and triggering an inflammatory response that causes post-chikungunya arthritis.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202012.0778.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biochemistry Keywords: Alphavirus; chikungunya virus; East Central South African lineage; Indian Ocean sub-lineage; acute febrile illness; viremia; arthritides
Online: 31 December 2020 (09:22:52 CET)
Chikungunya virus is an Alphavirus belonging to the family Togaviridae that is transmitted to humans by an infected Aedes mosquito. Patients develop fever, inflammatory arthritis, and rash during the acute stage of infection. Although the illness is self-limiting, atypical and severe cases are not uncommon, and 60% may develop chronic symptoms that persist for months or even for longer durations. Having a distinct periodical epidemiologic outbreak pattern, chikungunya virus reappeared in Thailand in December 2018. Here, we describe a cohort of acute chikungunya patients who had presented to the Bangkok Hospital for Tropical Diseases during October 2019. Infection was confirmed by real-time RT-PCR using serum collected at presentation to the Fever Clinic. Other possible acute febrile illnesses such as influenza, dengue, and malaria were excluded. We explored the sequence of clinical manifestations at presentation during the acute phase and associated the viral load with the clinical findings. Most of the patients were healthy individuals in their forties. Fever and arthralgia were the predominant clinical manifestations found in this patient cohort, with a small proportion of patients with systemic symptoms. Higher viral loads were associated with arthralgia, and arthralgia with the involvement of the large joints was more common in female patients
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202008.0309.v1
Subject: Keywords: Chikungunya fever; ELISA; lateral flow; E1/E2 antigen detection; alphavirus; Latin America; acute phase diagnosis; rapid diagnosis
Online: 14 August 2020 (04:55:47 CEST)
Since its 2013 emergence in the Americas, chikungunya virus (CHIKV) has posed a serious threat to public health. Early and accurate diagnosis of the disease, though currently lacking in clinics, is integral to enable timely care and epidemiological response. We developed a dual detection system: a CHIKV antigen E1/E2-based enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and a lateral flow test using high-affinity anti-CHIKV antibodies. The ELISA was validated with 100 PCR-tested acute Chikungunya fever samples from Honduras. The assay had an overall sensitivity and specificity of 51% and 96.67%, respectively, with accuracy reaching 95.45% sensitivity and 92.03% specificity at a Ct cutoff of 22. As the Ct value increased from 22, ELISA sensitivity decreased. We then developed and validated two lateral flow tests using independent antibody pairs. The sensitivity and specificity reached 100% for both lateral flow tests using 39 samples from Colombia and Honduras at Ct cutoffs of 20 and 27, respectively. For both lateral flow tests, sensitivity decreased as the Ct increased after 27. Because CHIKV E1/E2 are exposed in the virion surfaces in serum during the acute infection phase, these sensitive and specific assays demonstrate opportunities for early detection of this emerging human pathogen.
Subject: Medicine & Pharmacology, Other Keywords: Chikungunya virus; alphavirus; antiviral therapy; direct-acting antivirals; host-directed antivirals; in silico screening; in vivo validation; antiviral drug development
Online: 10 June 2021 (09:15:45 CEST)
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) is a mosquito-transmitted alphavirus that has re-emerged in recent decades, causing large-scale epidemics in many parts of the world. CHIKV infection leads to a febrile disease known as chikungunya fever (CHIKF), which is characterised by severe joint pain and myalgia. As many patients develop a painful chronic stage and neither antiviral drugs nor vaccines are available, the development of a potent CHIKV inhibiting drug is crucial for CHIKF treatment. A comprehensive summary of current antiviral research and development of small-molecule inhibitor against CHIKV is presented in this review. We highlight different approaches used for the identification of such compounds and further discuss the identification and application of promising viral and host targets.