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Immunology and Pathology of Acute Murine Leukemia Virus Infections


Members of the APOBEC3 family of deoxycytidine deaminases counteract a broad range of retroviruses in vitro through an indirect mechanism that requires virion incorporation and inhibition of reverse transcription and/or hypermutation of minus strand transcripts in the next target cell. The selective advantage to the host of this indirect restriction mechanism remains unclear, but valuable insights may be gained by studying APOBEC3 function in vivo. Apobec3 was previously shown to encode Rfv3, a classical resistance gene that controls the recovery of mice from pathogenic Friend retrovirus (FV) infection by promoting a more potent neutralizing antibody (NAb) response. The underlying mechanism does not involve a direct effect of Apobec3 on B cell function. Here we show that while Apobec3 decreased titers of infectious virus during acute FV infection, plasma viral RNA loads were maintained, indicating substantial release of noninfectious particles in vivo. The lack of plasma virion infectivity was associated with a significant post-entry block during early reverse transcription rather than G-to-A hypermutation. The Apobec3-dependent NAb response correlated with IgG binding titers against native, but not detergent-lysed virions. These findings indicate that innate Apobec3 restriction promotes NAb responses by maintaining high concentrations of virions with native B cell epitopes, but in the context of low virion infectivity. Finally, Apobec3 restriction was found to be saturable in vivo, since increasing FV inoculum doses resulted in decreased Apobec3 inhibition. By analogy, maximizing the release of noninfectious particles by modulating APOBEC3 expression may improve humoral immunity against pathogenic human retroviral infections.B cells are one of the targets of Friend virus (FV) infection, a well-established mouse model often used to study retroviral infections in vivo. Although B cells may be effective in stimulating cytotoxic T lymphocyte responses, studies involving their role in FV infection have mainly focused on neutralizing antibody production. Here we show that polyclonal activation of B cells promotes their infection with FV both in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, we demonstrate that complement opsonization of Friend murine leukemia virus (F-MuLV) enhances infection of B cells, which correlates with increased potency of B cells to activate FV-specific CD8(+) T cells.Antibody prevalence studies in laboratory mice indicate that murine norovirus (MNV) infections are common, but the natural history of these viruses has not been fully established. This study examined the extent of genetic diversity of murine noroviruses isolated from healthy laboratory mice housed in multiple animal facilities within a single, large research institute- the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health (NIAID-NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, U.S. Ten distinct murine norovirus strains were isolated from various tissues and feces of asymptomatic wild type sentinel mice as well as asymptomatic immunodeficient (RAG 2(-/-)) mice. The NIH MNV isolates showed little cytopathic effect in permissive RAW264.7 cells in early passages, but all isolates examined could be adapted to efficient growth in cell culture by serial passage. The viruses, although closely related in genome sequence, were distinguishable from each other according to facility location, likely due to the introduction of new viruses into each facility from separate sources or vendors at different times. Our study indicates that the murine noroviruses are widespread in these animal facilities, despite rigorous guidelines for animal care and maintenance.Prion diseases are fatal, transmissible neurodegenerative diseases of the central nervous system. An abnormally protease-resistant and insoluble form (PrP(Sc)) of the normally soluble protease-sensitive host prion protein (PrP(C)) is the major component of the infectious prion. During the course of prion disease, PrP(Sc) accumulates primarily in the lymphoreticular and central nervous systems. Recent studies have shown that co-infection of prion-infected fibroblast cells with the Moloney murine leukemia virus (Mo-MuLV) strongly enhanced the release and spread of scrapie infectivity in cell culture, suggesting that retroviral coinfection might significantly influence prion spread and disease incubation times in vivo. We now show that another retrovirus, the murine leukemia virus Friend (F-MuLV), also enhanced the release and spread of scrapie infectivity in cell culture. However, peripheral co-infection of mice with both Friend virus and the mouse scrapie strain 22L did not alter scrapie disease incubation times, the levels of PrP(Sc) in the brain or spleen, or the distribution of pathological lesions in the brain. Thus, retroviral co-infection does not necessarily alter prion disease pathogenesis in vivo, most likely because of different cell-specific sites of replication for scrapie and F-MuLV.It was recently reported that inhibitory molecules such as programmed death-1 (PD-1) were upregulated on CD8(+) T cells during acute Friend retrovirus infection and that the cells were prematurely exhausted and dysfunctional in vitro. The current study confirms that most activated CD8(+) T cells upregulated expression of PD-1 during acute infection and revealed a dichotomy of function between PD-1(hi) and PD-1(lo) subsets. More PD-1(lo) cells produced antiviral cytokines such as IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha, whereas more PD-1(hi) cells displayed characteristics of cytotoxic effectors such as production of granzymes and surface expression of CD107a. Importantly, CD8(+) T cells mediated rapid in vivo cytotoxicity and were critical for control of acute Friend virus replication. Thus, direct ex vivo analyses and in vivo experiments revealed high CD8(+) T cell functionality and indicate that PD-1 expression during acute infection is not a marker of T cell exhaustion.

Hasenkrug, Kim
DHHS/NIH - National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
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