Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is a severe tick-borne febrile illness with wide geographic distribution. CCHF is caused by infection with the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) and case fatality rates can be as high as 30%. Despite causing severe disease in humans, our understanding of the host and viral determinants of CCHFV pathogenesis are limited. A major limitation in the investigation of CCHF has been the lack of suitable small animal models. Wild-type mice are resistant to clinical isolates of CCHFV and consequently, mice must be deficient in type I interferon responses to study the more severe aspects of CCHFV. We report here a mouse-adapted variant of CCHFV that recapitulates in adult, immunocompetent mice the severe CCHF observed in humans. This mouse-adapted variant of CCHFV significantly improves our ability to study host and viral determinants of CCHFV-induced disease in a highly tractable mouse model.
Relevant source data for figures is provided and the consensus sequence of MA-CCHFV has been deposited to Genbank (Accession #s MW058028 - MW058030)
- David W Hawman
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: Animal experiments were approved by the institutional animal care and use committee, protocol #s 2017-68 and 2019-63. Studies performed by experienced personnel under veterinary oversight. Mice were group-housed in HEPA-filtered cage systems and acclimatized to BSL4 conditions prior to start of the experiment. They were provided with nesting material and food and water ad libitum.
- Amy Hartman, University of Pittsburgh
This is an open-access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.
Age-associated DNA methylation in blood cells convey information on health status. However, the mechanisms that drive these changes in circulating cells and their relationships to gene regulation are unknown. We identified age-associated DNA methylation sites in six purified blood-borne immune cell types (naive B, naive CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, granulocytes, monocytes, and NK cells) collected from healthy individuals interspersed over a wide age range. Of the thousands of age-associated sites, only 350 sites were differentially methylated in the same direction in all cell types and validated in an independent longitudinal cohort. Genes close to age-associated hypomethylated sites were enriched for collagen biosynthesis and complement cascade pathways, while genes close to hypermethylated sites mapped to neuronal pathways. In silico analyses showed that in most cell types, the age-associated hypo- and hypermethylated sites were enriched for ARNT (HIF1β) and REST transcription factor (TF) motifs, respectively, which are both master regulators of hypoxia response. To conclude, despite spatial heterogeneity, there is a commonality in the putative regulatory role with respect to TF motifs and histone modifications at and around these sites. These features suggest that DNA methylation changes in healthy aging may be adaptive responses to fluctuations of oxygen availability.
Infection with Influenza A virus (IAV) causes the well-known symptoms of the flu, including fever, loss of appetite, and excessive sleepiness. These responses, mediated by the brain, will normally disappear once the virus is cleared from the system, but a severe respiratory virus infection may cause long-lasting neurological disturbances. These include encephalitis lethargica and narcolepsy. The mechanisms behind such long lasting changes are unknown. The hypothalamus is a central regulator of the homeostatic response during a viral challenge. To gain insight into the neuronal and non-neuronal molecular changes during an IAV infection, we intranasally infected mice with an H1N1 virus and extracted the brain at different time points. Using single-nucleus RNA sequencing (snRNA-seq) of the hypothalamus, we identify transcriptional effects in all identified cell populations. The snRNA-seq data showed the most pronounced transcriptional response at 3 days past infection, with a strong downregulation of genes across all cell types. General immune processes were mainly impacted in microglia, the brain resident immune cells, where we found increased numbers of cells expressing pro-inflammatory gene networks. In addition, we found that most neuronal cell populations downregulated genes contributing to the energy homeostasis in mitochondria and protein translation in the cytosol, indicating potential reduced cellular and neuronal activity. This might be a preventive mechanism in neuronal cells to avoid intracellular viral replication and attack by phagocytosing cells. The change of microglia gene activity suggest that this is complemented by a shift in microglia activity to provide increased surveillance of their surroundings.