Molecules. 2011 ;16 (8):6992-7018 21847071
Francesca Berlutti, Fabrizio Pantanella, Tiziana Natalizi, Alessandra Frioni, Rosalba Paesano, Antonella Polimeni, Piera Valenti
Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome 00185, Italy. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lactoferrin, a multifunctional iron binding glycoprotein, plays an important role in immune regulation and defence mechanisms against bacteria, fungi and viruses. Lactoferrin's iron withholding ability is related to inhibition of microbial growth as well as to modulation of motility, aggregation and biofilm formation of pathogenic bacteria. Independently of iron binding capability, lactoferrin interacts with microbial, viral and cell surfaces thus inhibiting microbial and viral adhesion and entry into host cells. Lactoferrin can be considered not only a primary defense factor against mucosal infections, but also a polyvalent regulator which interacts in viral infectious processes. Its antiviral activity, demonstrated against both enveloped and naked viruses, lies in the early phase of infection, thus preventing entry of virus in the host cell. This activity is exerted by binding to heparan sulphate glycosaminoglycan cell receptors, or viral particles or both. Despite the antiviral effect of lactoferrin, widely demonstrated in vitro studies, few clinical trials have been carried out and the related mechanism of action is still under debate. The nuclear localization of lactoferrin in different epithelial human cells suggests that lactoferrin exerts its antiviral effect not only in the early phase of surface interaction virus-cell, but also intracellularly. The capability of lactoferrin to exert a potent antiviral activity, through its binding to host cells and/or viral particles, and its nuclear localization strengthens the idea that lactoferrin is an important brick in the mucosal wall, effective against viral attacks and it could be usefully applied as novel strategy for treatment of viral infections.
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Quantitative evaluation of bacteria adherent and in biofilm on single-wall carbon nanotube-coated surfaces.
Fabrizio Pantanella, Francesca Berlutti, Daniele Passeri, Daniela Sordi, Alessandra Frioni, Tiziana Natalizi, Maria Letizia Terranova, Marco Rossi, Piera Valenti
Dipartimento di Sanità Pubblica e Malattie Infettive, Sapienza-Università di Roma, Piazzale A. Moro 5, 00185 Roma, Italy.
Biofilm is a common bacterial lifestyle, and it plays a crucial role in human health, causing biofilm-mediated infections. Recently, to counteract biofilm development, new nano-structured biomaterials have been proposed. However, data about the antibacterial properties of nano-structured surfaces are fragmentary and controversial, and, in particular, the susceptibility of nano-structured materials to colonization and biofilm formation by bacterial pathogens has not been yet thoroughly considered. Here, the ability of the pathogenic Streptococcus mutans and Pseudomonas aeruginosa to adhere and form biofilm on surfaces coated with single-wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNTs) was analyzed. Our results showed that the surfaces of SWCNTs-coated glass beads (SWCNTs-GBs) were colonized at the same extent of uncoated GBs both by S. mutans and P. aeruginosa. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that single wall SWCNTs-coated surfaces are not suitable to counteract bacterial adhesion and biofilm development.
BioTimer Assay, a new method for counting Staphylococcus spp. in biofilm without sample manipulation applied to evaluate antibiotic susceptibility of biofilm.
Fabrizio Pantanella, Piera Valenti, Alessandra Frioni, Tiziana Natalizi, Luana Coltella, Francesca Berlutti
Department of Public Health Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, Piazzale A. Moro 5, Rome, Italy.
The medical device-related infections are frequently a consequence of Staphylococcus biofilm, a lifestyle enhancing bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Antibiotic susceptibility tests are usually performed on planktonic forms of clinical isolates. Some methods have been developed to perform antibiotic susceptibility tests on biofilm. However, none of them counts bacterial inoculum. As antibiotic susceptibility is related to bacterial inoculum, the test results could be mistaken. Here, a new method, BioTimer Assay (BTA), able to count bacteria in biofilm without any manipulation of samples, is presented. Moreover, the BTA method is applied to analyze antibiotic susceptibility of six Staphylococcus strains in biofilm and to determine the number of viable bacteria in the presence of sub-inhibitory doses of four different antibiotics. To validate BTA, the new method was compared to reference methods both for counting and antibiotic susceptibility tests. A high agreement between BTA and reference methods is found on planktonic forms. Therefore, BTA was employed to count bacteria in biofilm and to analyze biofilm antibiotic susceptibility. Results confirm the high resistance to antibiotics of Staphylococcus biofilm. Moreover, BTA counts the number of viable bacteria in the presence of sub-inhibitory doses of antibiotics. The results show that the number of viable bacteria depends on sub-inhibitory doses, age of biofilm and type of antibiotic. In particular, differently to gentamicin and ampicillin, sub-inhibitory doses of ofloxacin and azithromycin reduce the number of viable bacteria at lower extent in young than in old biofilm. In conclusion, BTA is a reliable, rapid, easy-to-perform, and versatile method, and it can be considered a useful tool to analyze antibiotic susceptibility of Staphylococcus spp. in biofilm.
Lactoferrin efficacy versus ferrous sulfate in curing iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia in pregnant women.
Rosalba Paesano, Francesca Berlutti, Miriam Pietropaoli, Fabrizio Pantanella, Enrica Pacifici, William Goolsbee, Piera Valenti
Department of Obstetrician and Gynaecology, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy.
Iron deficiency (ID) and iron deficiency anemia (IDA) are the most common iron disorders throughout the world. ID and IDA, particularly caused by increased iron requirements during pregnancy, represent a high risk for preterm delivery, fetal growth retardation, low birth weight, and inferior neonatal health. Oral administration of ferrous sulfate to cure ID and IDA in pregnancy often fails to increase hematological parameters, causes adverse effects and increases inflammation. Recently, we have demonstrated safety and efficacy of oral administration of 30% iron saturated bovine lactoferrin (bLf) in pregnant women suffering from ID and IDA. Oral administration of bLf significantly increases the number of red blood cells, hemoglobin, total serum iron and serum ferritin already after 30 days of the treatment. The increasing of hematological values by bLf is related to the decrease of serum IL-6 and the increase of serum hepcidin, detected as prohepcidin, whereas ferrous sulfate increases IL-6 and fails to increase hematological parameters and prohepcidin. bLf is a more effective and safer alternative than ferrous sulfate for treating ID and IDA in pregnant women.
Department of Health Sciences and Infectious Diseases,"Sapienza" University of Rome, Rome, Italy.
Lactoferrin (Lf), an iron-binding glycoprotein able to chelate two ferric ions per molecule, is a component of human secretions synthesized by exocrine glands and neutrophils in infection/inflammation sites. Lactoferrin in saliva represents an important defence factor against bacterial injuries including those related to Streptococcus mutans and periodontopathic bacteria through its ability to decrease bacterial growth, biofilm development, iron overload, reactive oxygen formation and inflammatory processes.A growing body of research suggests that inflammatory periodontal disease involves a failure of resolution pathways to restore tissue homeostasis. There is an important distinction between anti-inflammation and resolution; anti-inflammation is pharmacologic intervention in inflammatory pathways, whereas resolution involves biologic pathways restoring inflammatory homeostasis. An appropriate regulation of pro-inflammatory cytokine synthesis might be useful in reducing periodontal tissue destruction. Recently, the multi-functional IL-6 is emerging as an important factor able to modulate bone, iron and inflammatory homeostasis.Here, we report an overview of Lf functions as well as for the first time Lf anti-inflammatory ability against periodontitis in in vitro model and observational clinical study. In in vitro model, represented by gingival fibroblasts infected with Prevotella intermedia, Lf exerted a potent anti-inflammatory activity. In the observational clinical trial performed through bovine Lf (bLf) topically administered to volunteers suffering from periodontitis, bLf decreased cytokines, including IL-6 in crevicular fluid, edema, bleeding, pocket depth, gingival and plaque index, thus improving clinical attachment levels.Even if other clinical trials are required, these results provide strong evidence for a instead of an therapeutic potential of this multifunctional natural protein.
Department of Woman Health and Territorial Medicine, Sapienza University of Rome, Via di Grottarossa, 1035-1039, 00189 Rome, Italy.
Preterm delivery (PTD) occurs before the 37th week of gestation. Iron deficiency anemia and inflammatory processes either related to infection or sterile inflammatory response represent risk factors for PTD. Bovine lactoferrin (bLf), an emerging important regulator of iron and inflammatory homeostasis, can represent a new therapeutic approach for PTD treatment. Here an open-label cohort and subcohort study is reported. The cohort was designed to assess the effect of bLf oral administration on iron and inflammatory homeostasis in anemic pregnant women. The subcohort including women of the cohort with PTD threat was additionally treated with bLf intravaginal administration. A significant improvement of hematological parameters was observed in the women's cohort together with a consistent decrease of serum interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels. Combined administration of oral and intravaginal bLf to the women's subcohort with PTD threat decreased IL-6 in both serum and cervicovaginal fluids, cervicovaginal prostaglandin F(2α), and suppressed uterine contractility. BLf administration blocked further shortening of cervical length and the increase of fetal fibronectin thus prolonging the length of pregnancy. The deliveries occurred between the 37th and 38th week of gestation. These results provide strong evidence for a role of bLf in PTD treatment, thus extending the therapeutic potential of this multifunctional natural protein.
Rosalba Paesano, Francesco Torcia, Francesca Berlutti, Enrica Pacifici, Valeria Ebano, Massimo Moscarini, Piera Valenti
Department of Obstetrician and Gynecology, University of Rome La Sapienza, Via di Grottarossa 1035, 00189 Roma, Italy.
Iron deficiency anemia (IDA) during pregnancy continues to be of world-wide concern. IDA is a risk factor for preterm delivery and subsequent low birth weight, and possibly for poor neonatal health. Iron supplementation in pregnancy is a widely recommended practice, yet intervention programs have met with many controversies. In our study, 300 women at different trimesters of pregnancy were enrolled in a trial of oral administration of ferrous sulfate (520 mg once a day) or 30% iron-saturated bovine lactoferrin (bLf)(100 mg twice a day). Pregnant women refusing treatment represented the control group. In this group hemoglobin and total serum iron values measured after 30 d without treatment decreased significantly, especially in women at 18-31 weeks of pregnancy. In contrast, after 30 d of oral administration of bLf, hemoglobin and total serum iron values increased and to a greater extent than those observed in women treated orally for 30 d with ferrous sulfate, independently of the trimester of pregnancy. Unlike ferrous sulfate, bLf did not result in any side effects. These findings lead us to hypothesize that lactoferrin could influence iron homeostasis directly or through other proteins involved in iron transport out of the intestinal cells into the blood.
Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Department of Cell Biology and Neurosciences, Viale Regina Elena 299, Rome, Italy.
Lactoferrin (LF), an iron-binding glycoprotein expressed in most biological fluids, represents a major component of mammalian innate immune system. The multiple activities of LF rely not only on its capacity to bind iron but also to interact with molecular and cellular components of both the host and pathogens. LF can bind and sequester lipopolysaccharide thus preventing proinflammatory pathway activation, sepsis, and tissue damage. However, the interplay between LF and lipopolysaccharide is complex and may lead to different outcomes including both the suppression of inflammatory response and immune activation. Understanding the molecular basis and the functional consequences of this complex interaction is critically relevant in the development of LF-based therapeutic interventions in humans.
Biometals. 2010 Apr 4;: 20364433
Maria Grazia Ammendolia, Lucia Bertuccini, Francesca Iosi, Fabio Minelli, Francesca Berlutti, Piera Valenti, Fabiana Superti
Department of Technology and Health, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena 299, 00161, Rome, Italy, email@example.com.
In this study we evaluated the ability of lactoferrin, the most abundant antimicrobial protein in airway secretions, to bind the surface structures of a Burkholderia strain cystic fibrosis-isolated. Burkholderia cenocepacia is a gram-negative bacterium involved as respiratory pathogen in cystic fibrosis patient infections. This bacterium possesses filamentous structures, named cable pili that have been proposed as virulence factors because of their ability to bind to respiratory epithelia and mucin. Previously, we demonstrated that bovine lactoferrin was able to influence the efficiency of invasion of different iron-regulated morphological forms of B. cenocepacia. Bovine lactoferrin showed to efficiently inhibit invasion of alveolar epithelial cells by free-living bacteria or iron-induced aggregates or biofilm. Results of the present study demonstrate that bovine lactoferrin is also able to specifically bind to B. cenocepacia cells and show that cable pili are involved in this interaction. The attachment of bovine lactoferrin to pili led to a reduced binding of bacterial cells to mucin. Since cable pili are implicated in mediating the bacterial interactions with mucin and epithelial cells, lactoferrin binding to these structures could play an important role in neutralizing bacterial infection in cystic fibrosis patients.
The influence of lactoferrin, orally administered, on systemic iron homeostasis in pregnant women suffering of iron deficiency and iron deficiency anaemia.
Department of Obstetrician and Gynecology, Sapienza, University of Rome, Rome, Italy.
Iron is a fundamental element for humans as it represents an essential component of many proteins and enzymes. However, this element can also be toxic when present in excess because of its ability to generate reactive oxygen species. This dual nature imposes a tight regulation of iron concentration in the body. In humans, systemic iron homeostasis is mainly regulated at the level of intestinal absorption and, until now, no regulated pathways for the excretion of iron have been found. The regulation and maintenance of systemic iron homeostasis is critical to human health. Excessive iron absorption leads to iron-overload in parenchyma, while low iron absorption leads to plasma iron deficiency, which manifests as hypoferremia (iron deficiency, ID) and ID anaemia (IDA). ID and IDA are still a major health problem in pregnant women. To cure ID and IDA, iron supplements are routinely prescribed. The preferred treatment of ID/IDA, consisting in oral administration of iron as ferrous sulphate, often fails to exert significant effects on hypoferremia and may also cause adverse effects. Lactoferrin (Lf), an iron-binding glycoprotein abundantly found in exocrine secretions of mammals, is emerging as an important regulator of systemic iron homeostasis. Recent data suggest that this natural compound, capable of interacting with the most important components of iron homeostasis, may represent a valuable alternative to iron supplements in the prevention and cure of pregnancy-associated ID and IDA. In this review, recent advances in the molecular circuits involved in the complex cellular and systemic iron homeostasis will be summarised. The role of Lf in curing ID and IDA in pregnancy and in the maintenance of iron homeostasis will also be discussed. Understanding these mechanisms will provide the rationale for the development of novel therapeutic alternatives to ferrous sulphate oral administration in the prevention and cure of ID and IDA.
Detection of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato DNA by PCR in serum of patients with clinical symptoms of Lyme borreliosis.
Department of Public Health Sciences, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy. firstname.lastname@example.org
Lyme borreliosis is a disease caused by spirochaetes belonging to the genospecies complex Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (s.l.) transmitted by Ixodes ticks. At present, serology remains the main diagnostic tool for laboratory diagnosis of Lyme borreliosis. Recently, the PCR technique has been applied for diagnosis of B. burgdorferi s.l., but, until now, a reliable, easy-to-perform and sensitive method has not been described. Here we present a new PCR-based method for the detection of both B. burgdorferi s.l. and Borrelia genospecies DNAs in serum samples collected from patients showing Lyme disease symptoms. Of 265 serum samples of patients included in this study, 7.5% were positive, 1.9% was borderline and 90.6% were negative for antibodies against B. burgdorferi by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and Western blotting. The B. burgdorferi s.l. 16S rRNA gene was detected by PCR in all serum-positive and in two borderline samples. None of the serum-negative samples nor serum samples collected from healthy subjects gave positive PCR reactions. Of PCR-positive serum samples, 50% gave a positive reaction for Borrelia afzelii, 18% for Borrelia garinii and 23% for two Borrelia species. Two samples (9%) were not identified to species level. The new protocol could be considered to be reliable as neither false-positive nor false-negative reactions were recorded, and to be sensitive as it detects DNA from one bacterial cell.
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Institute of Medical Virology, University of Zurich, 8057 Zürich, Switzerland.
Mx proteins are a family of large GTPases that are induced exclusively by interferon-α/β and have a broad antiviral activity against several viruses, including influenza A virus (IAV). Although the antiviral activities of mouse Mx1 and human MxA have been studied extensively, the molecular mechanism of action remains largely unsolved. Because no direct interaction between Mx proteins and IAV proteins or RNA had been demonstrated so far, we addressed the question of whether Mx protein would interact with cellular proteins required for efficient replication of IAV. Immunoprecipitation of MxA revealed its association with two closely related RNA helicases, UAP56 and URH49. UAP56 and its paralog URH49 play an important role in IAV replication and are involved in nuclear export of IAV mRNAs and prevention of dsRNA accumulation in infected cells. In vitro binding assays with purified recombinant proteins revealed that MxA formed a direct complex with the RNA helicases. In addition, recombinant mouse Mx1 was also able to bind to UAP56 or URH49. Furthermore, the complex formation between cytoplasmic MxA and UAP56 or URH49 occurred in the perinuclear region, whereas nuclear Mx1 interacted with UAP56 or URH49 in distinct dots in the nucleus. Taken together, our data reveal that Mx proteins exerting antiviral activity can directly bind to the two cellular DExD/H box RNA helicases UAP56 and URH49. Moreover, the observed subcellular localization of the Mx-RNA helicase complexes coincides with the subcellular localization, where human MxA and mouse Mx1 proteins act antivirally. On the basis of these data, we propose that Mx proteins exert their antiviral activity against IAV by interfering with the function of the RNA helicases UAP56 and URH49.
Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, 1124 W. Carson St., Torrance, CA, USA. email@example.com
Candida albicans is part of the normal human flora, and it grows on mucosal surfaces in healthy individuals. In susceptible hosts, this organism can cause both mucosal and hematogenously disseminated disease. For C. albicans to persist in the host and induce disease, it must be able to adhere to biotic and abiotic surfaces, invade host cells, and obtain iron. The C. albicans hypha-specific surface protein Als3 is a member of the agglutinin-like sequence (Als) family of proteins and is important in all of these processes. Functioning as an adhesin, Als3 mediates attachment to epithelial cells, endothelial cells, and extracellular matrix proteins. It also plays an important role in biofilm formation on prosthetic surfaces, both alone and in mixed infection with Streptococcus gordonii. Als3 is one of two known C. albicans invasins. It binds to host cell receptors such as E-cadherin and N-cadherin and thereby induces host cells to endocytose the organism. Als3 also binds to host cell ferritin and enables C. albicans to utilize this protein as a source of iron. Because of its multiple functions and its high expression level in vivo, Als3 is a promising target for vaccines that induce protective cell-mediated and antibody responses. This review will summarize the multiple functions of this interesting and multifunctional protein.
Sulfated derivatives of Escherichia coli K5 capsular polysaccharide are potent inhibitors of human cytomegalovirus.
Beatrice Mercorelli, Pasqua Oreste, Elisa Sinigalia, Giulia Muratore, David Lembo, Giorgio Palù, Arianna Loregian
Department of Histology, Microbiology and Medical Biotechnologies, University of Padua, via Gabelli 63, Padua, Italy.
To date, there are few drugs licensed for the treatment of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infections, most of which target the viral DNA polymerase and suffer from many drawbacks. Thus, there is still a strong need for new anti-HCMV compounds with novel mechanisms of action. In this study, we investigated the anti-HCMV activity of chemically sulfated derivatives of Escherichia coli K5 capsular polysaccharide. These compounds are structurally related to cellular heparan sulfate and have been previously shown to be effective against some enveloped and nonenveloped viruses. We demonstrated that two derivatives, i.e., K5-N,OS(H) and K5-N,OS(L), are able to prevent cell infection by different strains of HCMV at concentrations in the nanomolar range while having no significant cytotoxicity. Studies performed to elucidate the mechanism of action of their anti-HCMV activity revealed that these compounds do not interact with either the host cell or the viral particle but need a virus-cell interaction to exert antiviral effects. Furthermore, these K5 derivatives were able to inhibit the attachment step of HCMV infection, as well as the viral cell-to-cell spread. Since the mode of inhibition of these compounds appears to differ from that of the available anti-HCMV drugs, sulfated K5 derivatives could represent the basis for the development of a novel class of potent anti-HCMV compounds. Interestingly, our studies highlight that small variations of the K5 derivatives structure can modulate the selectivity and potency of their activities against different viruses, including viruses belonging to the same family.
School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science, North Chicago, IL 60064, USA.
Human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV16) is the major causative agent of cervical cancer. Studies regarding the early binding and signaling molecules that play a significant role in infection are still lacking. The current study analyzes the role of heparan sulfate, integrins, and the signaling molecule FAK in HPV16 infection of human adult keratinocytes cell line (HaCaTs). Our data demonstrate that infection requires the binding of viral particles to heparan sulfate followed by activation of focal adhesion kinase through an integrin. Infections were reduced in the presence of the FAK inhibitor, TAE226. TAE226 was observed to inhibit viral entry to the early endosome a known infectious route. These findings suggest that FAK can serve as a novel target for antiviral therapy.
Hepatitis C virions subvert natural killer cell activation to generate a cytokine environment permissive for infection.
Department of Microbial Molecular Biology, Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, Siena, Italy. firstname.lastname@example.org
BACKGROUND & AIMS Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is remarkably successful in establishing persistent infections due to its ability to evade host immune responses through a combination of mechanisms including modulation of interferon (IFN) signalling in infected cells, interference with effector cell function of the immune system and continual viral genetic variation. We have previously demonstrated that natural killer (NK) cells can be inhibited in vitro by recombinant HCV glycoprotein E2 via cross-linking of CD81, a cellular co-receptor for the virus. METHODS Taking advantage of the recently established tissue-culture system for HCV, we have studied the effects of CD81 engagement by the HCV envelope glycoprotein E2 when the protein is part of complete, infectious viral particles. Specifically, we asked whether exposure to HCV viral particles (HCVcc) affects activation of NK cells and whether altered NK cell activation, in turn, impacts on HCV infectivity. RESULTS We found that immobilized HCVcc, unlike soluble HCVcc, inhibited IFN-gamma production by interleukin (IL)-12 activated NK cells, and that this effect was mediated by engagement of cellular CD81 by HCV-virion displayed E2. In contrast, NK-production of IL-8 was increased in the presence of HCV. The cytokines produced by IL-12 activated NK cells strongly reduced the establishment of productive HCV infection. Importantly, NK-cell derived cytokines secreted in the presence of HCVcc showed a diminished antiviral effect that correlated with IFN-gamma reduction, while IL-8 concentrations had no impact on HCV infectivity. CONCLUSIONS Exposure to HCVcc modulates the pattern of cytokines produced by NK cells, leading to reduced antiviral activity.
In silico screening of small molecule libraries using the dengue virus envelope E protein has identified compounds with antiviral activity against multiple flaviviruses.
Thorsten Kampmann, Ragothaman Yennamalli, Phillipa Campbell, Martin J Stoermer, David P Fairlie, Bostjan Kobe, Paul R Young
Centre for Infectious Disease Research, School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia.
The flaviviruses comprise a large group of related viruses, many of which pose a significant global human health threat, most notably the dengue viruses (DENV), West Nile virus (WNV) and yellow fever virus (YFV). Flaviviruses enter host cells via fusion of the viral and cellular membranes, a process mediated by the major viral envelope protein E as it undergoes a low pH induced conformational change in the endosomal compartment of the host cell. This essential entry stage in the flavivirus life cycle provides an attractive target for the development of antiviral agents. We performed an in silico docking screen of the Maybridge chemical database within a previously described ligand binding pocket in the dengue E protein structure that is thought to play a key role in the conformational transitions that lead to membrane fusion. The biological activity of selected compounds identified from this screen revealed low micromolar antiviral potency against dengue virus for two of the compounds. Our results also provide the first evidence that compounds selected to bind to this ligand binding site on the flavivirus E protein abrogate fusion activity. Interestingly, one of these compounds also has antiviral activity against both WNV (kunjin strain) and YFV.
Pharmazie. 2009 Aug ;64 (8):538-41 19746844
Antiviral activity of Rhus aromatica (fragrant sumac) extract against two types of herpes simplex viruses in cell culture.
Department of Biology, Institute of Pharmacy and Molecular Biotechnology, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany. Juergen.Reichling@urz.uni-heidelberg.de
We report on the antiviral potency of an aqueous extract of root/stem bark of Rhus aromatica (fragrant sumac extract) against herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2 in cell culture (RC-37 cells) using a plaque reduction assay. The extract exhibited a high level of anti-HSV activity with IC50-values of 0.0005% for HSV-1 and 0.0043% for HSV-2 as well as high selectivity indices (SI) of 5400 for HSV-1 and 628 for HSV-2. In order to determine the mode of antiviral action, the fragrant sumac extract was added at different times to the cells or viruses during the viral infection cycle. At maximum non-cytotoxic concentration (0.25%), plaque formation was significantly reduced by more than 99% when herpes simplex viruses were pretreated with the plant extract for 1 h prior to cell infection. When the host cells were pretreated with the fragrant sumac extract for 1 h prior to virus infection, the infectivity of viruses was reduced by 50% for HSV-1 but only moderately for HSV-2. No antiviral effect was seen when the plant extract was added to already infected host cells. Based on these findings the plant extract seems to interact not only with the viral envelope but also with the surface of the host cells impairing the ability of herpes simplex viruses to adsorb to and penetrate into the host cells. In conclusion, the aqueous fragrant sumac extract revealed a strong antiviral activity against HSV-1 and HSV-2 in vitro.
Dimerization of tetherin is not essential for its antiviral activity against Lassa and Marburg viruses.
First Department of Forensic Science, National Research Institute of Police Science, Kashiwa, Japan.
Tetherin (also known as BST2, CD317 or HM1.24) has recently been reported to inhibit a wide range of viruses. However, the antiviral mechanism of action of tetherin has not been determined. Both ends of the tetherin molecule are associated with the plasma membrane and it forms a homodimer. Therefore, a model in which progeny virions are retained on the cell surface by dimer formation between tetherin molecules on the viral envelope and plasma membrane has been proposed as the antiviral mechanism of action of this molecule. To investigate this possibility, we examined the correlation between dimerization and antiviral activity of tetherin in Lassa and Marburg virus-like particle production systems using tetherin mutants deficient in dimer formation. However, the tetherin mutant with complete loss of dimerization activity still showed apparent antiviral activity, indicating that dimerization of tetherin is not essential for its antiviral activity. This suggests that tetherin retains progeny virions on the cell surface by a mechanism other than dimerization.
J Virol. 2009 Nov ;83 (22):11902-13 19740994
Inhibition of human cytomegalovirus replication via peptide aptamers directed against the nonconventional nuclear localization signal of the essential viral replication factor pUL84.
Institute for Clinical and Molecular Virology, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Schlossgarten 4, 91054 Erlangen, Germany.
The UL84 open reading frame of human cytomegalovirus encodes an essential multifunctional regulatory protein that is thought to act in the nucleus as an initiator of lytic viral replication. Nuclear trafficking of pUL84 is facilitated by a complex nonconventional nuclear localization signal (NLS) that mediates its interaction with the cellular importin-alpha/beta pathway. Since binding of pUL84 to importin-alpha proteins mechanistically differs from that of cellular proteins containing a classical NLS, we assumed that specific interference with the nuclear import of pUL84 might be possible and that this could constitute a novel principle for antiviral therapy. In order to test this hypothesis, we employed peptide aptamer technology and isolated several peptide aptamers from a randomized peptide expression library that specifically bind with high affinity to the unconventional pUL84 NLS under intracellular conditions. Coimmunoprecipitation experiments confirmed these interactions in mammalian cells, and the antiviral potential of the identified peptide aptamers was determined using three independent experimental approaches.(i) Infection experiments with a recombinant human cytomegalovirus expressing green fluorescent protein demonstrated 50 to 60% decreased viral replication in primary human fibroblasts stably expressing pUL84-specific aptamers.(ii) A 50 to 70% reduction of viral plaque formation, as well as a 70 to 90% inhibition of virus release in the presence of pUL84-specific aptamers, was observed.(iii) Immunofluorescence analyses revealed a shift from an almost exclusively nuclear pUL84 staining pattern to a nucleocytoplasmic distribution upon coexpression of the identified molecules, indicating that interference with the nuclear import of pUL84 contributes to the observed antiviral activity of the identified pUL84-binding aptamer molecules.
Sezione di Microbiologia, Dept. of STB, University of Cagliari, Via Porcell 4, 09124 Cagliari, Italy. email@example.com
Some natural triterpenes exert a definite antiviral activity on several human viruses. New synthetic derivatives of glycyrrhizic acid (GL) are even more active than the parental molecule. GL can alter the expression of viral genes involved in cell transformation, thus opening a new window for speculating on viral cancerogenesis.