Virus-host interactions drive a remarkable diversity of immune responses and countermeasures. We found that two RNA viruses with broad host ranges, vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) and Sindbis virus (SINV), are completely restricted in their replication after entry into Lepidopteran cells. This restriction is overcome when cells are co-infected with vaccinia virus (VACV), a vertebrate DNA virus. Using RNAi screening, we show that Lepidopteran RNAi, Nuclear Factor-κB, and ubiquitin-proteasome pathways restrict RNA virus infection. Surprisingly, a highly-conserved, uncharacterized VACV protein, A51R, can partially overcome this virus restriction. We show that A51R is also critical for VACV replication in vertebrate cells and for pathogenesis in mice. Interestingly, A51R colocalizes with, and stabilizes, host microtubules and also associates with ubiquitin. We show that A51R promotes viral protein stability, possibly by preventing ubiquitin-dependent targeting of viral proteins for destruction. Importantly, our studies reveal exciting new opportunities to study virus-host interactions in experimentally-tractable Lepidopteran systems.
Animal experimentation: All animal work was approved by the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Ethics Committee for Animal Care and Use (Permit number: P044-2010) and all animal guidelines and policies were in accordance with the Belgian Royal Decree of 14 November 1993 and the European Directive 86-609-EEC.When necessary, animals were euthanized by administering pentobarbital sodium.
- Ruslan Medzhitov, Yale University School of Medicine, United States
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The extreme polymorphisms of HLA-I proteins enable the presentation of diverse peptides to cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL). The canonical endoplasmic reticulum (ER) HLA-I assembly pathway enables presentation of cytosolic peptides, but effective intracellular surveillance requires multi-compartmental antigen sampling. Endo-lysosomes are generally sites of HLA class II assembly, but human monocytes and monocyte-derived dendritic cells (moDCs) also contain significant reserves of endo-lysosomal HLA-I molecules. We hypothesized variable influences of HLA-I polymorphisms upon outcomes of endo-lysosomal trafficking, as the stabilities and peptide occupancies of cell surface HLA-I are variable. Consistent with this model, when the endo-lysosomal pH of moDCs is disrupted, HLA-B allotypes display varying propensities for reductions in surface expression, with HLA-B*08:01 or HLA-B*35:01 being among the most resistant or sensitive respectively, among eight tested HLA-B allotypes. Perturbations of moDC endo-lysosomal pH result in redistribution of HLA-B*35:01, but not HLA-B*08:01, to LAMP1+ compartments and increase HLA-B*35:01 peptide receptivity. These findings reveal the intersection of the vacuolar cross-presentation pathway with a constitutive assembly pathway for some HLA-B allotypes. Notably, cross-presentation of epitopes derived from two soluble antigens was also more efficient for B*35:01 compared to B*08:01, even when matched for T cell response sensitivity, and more affected by cathepsin inhibition. Thus, HLA-I polymorphisms dictate the degree of endo-lysosomal assembly, which can supplement ER assembly for constitutive HLA-I expression and increase the efficiency of cross-presentation.
Naturally acquired immunity to malaria develops only after many years and repeated exposures, raising the question of whether Plasmodium parasites, the etiological agents of malaria, suppress the ability of dendritic cells (DCs) to activate optimal T cell responses. We demonstrated recently that B cells, rather than DCs, are the principal activators of CD4+ T cells in murine malaria. In the present study, we further investigated factors that might prevent DCs from priming Plasmodium-specific T helper cell responses. We found that DCs were significantly less efficient at taking up infected red blood cells (iRBCs) compared to soluble antigen, whereas B cells more readily bound iRBCs. To assess whether DCs retained the capacity to present soluble antigen during malaria, we measured responses to a heterologous protein immunization administered to naïve mice or mice infected with P. chabaudi. Antigen uptake, DC activation, and expansion of immunogen-specific T cells were intact in infected mice, indicating DCs remained functional. However, polarization of the immunogen-specific response was dramatically altered, with a near-complete loss of germinal center T follicular helper cells specific for the immunogen, accompanied by significant reductions in antigen-specific B cells and antibody. Our results indicate that DCs remain competent to activate T cells during Plasmodium infection, but that T cell polarization and humoral responses are severely disrupted. This study provides mechanistic insight into the development of both Plasmodium-specific and heterologous adaptive responses in hosts with malaria.