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<p>Chemical probes are of great use for investigating target safety, viability, and translation. Alongside this, they act as useful structural templates to inspire drug discovery.</p>
HLA-E-restricted, Gag-specific CD8+ T cells can suppress HIV-1 infection, offering vaccine opportunities.
Human leukocyte antigen-E (HLA-E) normally presents an HLA class Ia signal peptide to the NKG2A/C-CD94 regulatory receptors on natural killer (NK) cells and T cell subsets. Rhesus macaques immunized with a cytomegalovirus-vectored simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) vaccine generated Mamu-E (HLA-E homolog)-restricted T cell responses that mediated post-challenge SIV replication arrest in >50% of animals. However, HIV-1-specific, HLA-E-restricted T cells have not been observed in HIV-1-infected individuals. Here, HLA-E-restricted, HIV-1-specific CD8 + T cells were primed in vitro. These T cell clones and allogeneic CD8 + T cells transduced with their T cell receptors suppressed HIV-1 replication in CD4 + T cells in vitro. Vaccine induction of efficacious HLA-E-restricted HIV-1-specific T cells should therefore be possible.
There is an urgent need to understand the nature of immune responses against SARS-CoV-2, to inform risk-mitigation strategies for people living with HIV (PLWH). We show that the majority of PLWH, controlled on ART, mount a functional adaptive immune response to SARS-CoV-2. Humoral and SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell responses are comparable between HIV-positive and negative subjects and persist 5-7 months following predominately mild COVID-19 disease. T cell responses against Spike, Membrane and Nucleocapsid are the most prominent, with SARS-CoV-2-specific CD4 T cells outnumbering CD8 T cells. We further show that the overall magnitude of SARS-CoV-2-specific T cell responses relates to the size of the naive CD4 T cell pool and the CD4:CD8 ratio in PLWH, in whom disparate antibody and T cell responses are observed. These findings suggest that inadequate immune reconstitution on ART, could hinder immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 with implications for the individual management and vaccine effectiveness in PLWH.
While the pathological mechanisms in COVID-19 illness are still poorly understood, it is increasingly clear that high levels of pro-inflammatory mediators play a major role in clinical deterioration in patients with severe disease. Current evidence points to a hyperinflammatory state as the driver of respiratory compromise in severe COVID-19 disease, with a clinical trajectory resembling acute respiratory distress syndrome, but how this 'runaway train' inflammatory response emerges and is maintained is not known. Here, we present the first mathematical model of lung hyperinflammation due to SARS-CoV-2 infection. This model is based on a network of purported mechanistic and physiological pathways linking together five distinct biochemical species involved in the inflammatory response. Simulations of our model give rise to distinct qualitative classes of COVID-19 patients: (i) individuals who naturally clear the virus, (ii) asymptomatic carriers and (iii-v) individuals who develop a case of mild, moderate, or severe illness. These findings, supported by a comprehensive sensitivity analysis, point to potential therapeutic interventions to prevent the emergence of hyperinflammation. Specifically, we suggest that early intervention with a locally acting anti-inflammatory agent (such as inhaled corticosteroids) may effectively blockade the pathological hyperinflammatory reaction as it emerges.
Global proteomic analysis of extracellular matrix in mouse and human brain highlights relevance to cerebrovascular disease.
The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a key interface between the cerebrovasculature and adjacent brain tissues. Deregulation of the ECM contributes to a broad range of neurological disorders. However, despite this importance, our understanding of the ECM composition remains very limited mainly due to difficulties in its isolation. To address this, we developed an approach to extract the cerebrovascular ECM from mouse and human post-mortem normal brain tissues. We then used mass spectrometry with off-line high-pH reversed-phase fractionation to increase the protein detection. This identified more than 1000 proteins in the ECM-enriched fraction, with > 66% of the proteins being common between the species. We report 147 core ECM proteins of the human brain vascular matrisome, including collagens, laminins, fibronectin and nidogens. We next used network analysis to identify the connection between the brain ECM proteins and cerebrovascular diseases. We found that genes related to cerebrovascular diseases, such as COL4A1, COL4A2, VCAN and APOE were significantly enriched in the cerebrovascular ECM network. This provides unique mechanistic insight into cerebrovascular disease and potential drug targets. Overall, we provide a powerful resource to study the functions of brain ECM and highlight a specific role for brain vascular ECM in cerebral vascular disease.
ABPP-HT - High-Throughput Activity-Based Profiling of Deubiquitylating Enzyme Inhibitors in a Cellular Context.
The potency and selectivity of a small molecule inhibitor are key parameters to assess during the early stages of drug discovery. In particular, it is very informative for characterizing compounds in a relevant cellular context in order to reveal potential off-target effects and drug efficacy. Activity-based probes are valuable tools for that purpose, however, obtaining cellular target engagement data in a high-throughput format has been particularly challenging. Here, we describe a new methodology named ABPP-HT (high-throughput-compatible activity-based protein profiling), implementing a semi-automated proteomic sample preparation workflow that increases the throughput capabilities of the classical ABPP workflow approximately ten times while preserving its enzyme profiling characteristics. Using a panel of deubiquitylating enzyme (DUB) inhibitors, we demonstrate the feasibility of ABPP-HT to provide compound selectivity profiles of endogenous DUBs in a cellular context at a fraction of time as compared to previous methodologies.
Testicular cancer is the most common cancer in men aged from 15 to 34 years. Lympho-vascular invasion refers to the presence of tumours within endothelial-lined lymphatic or vascular channels, and has been shown to have prognostic significance in testicular germ cell tumours. In non-seminomatous tumours, lymphovascular invasion is the most powerful prognostic factor for stage 1 disease. For the pathologist, searching multiple slides for lymphovascular invasion can be highly time-consuming. The aim of this retrospective study was to develop and assess an artificial intelligence algorithm that can identify areas suspicious for lymphovascular invasion in histological digital whole slide images. Areas of possible lymphovascular invasion were annotated in a total of 184 whole slide images of haematoxylin and eosin (H&E) stained tissue from 19 patients with testicu-lar germ cell tumours, including a mixture of seminoma and non-seminomatous cases. Following consensus review by specialist uropathologists, we trained a deep learning classifier for automatic segmentation of areas suspicious for lymphovascular invasion. The classifier identified 34 areas within a validation set of 118 whole slide images from 10 patients, each of which was reviewed by three expert pathologists to form a majority consensus. The precision was 0.68 for areas which were considered to be appropriate to flag, and 0.56 for areas considered to be definite lymphovascular invasion. An artificial intelligence tool which highlights areas of possible lymphovascular invasion to reporting pathologists, who then make a final judgement on its presence or absence, has been demonstrated as feasible in this proof-of-concept study. Further development is required before clinical deployment.
SARS-CoV-2 has caused over 2 million deaths in little over a year. Vaccines are being deployed at scale, aiming to generate responses against the virus spike. The scale of the pandemic and error-prone virus replication is leading to the appearance of mutant viruses and potentially escape from antibody responses. Variant B.1.1.7, now dominant in the UK, with increased transmission, harbors 9 amino acid changes in the spike, including N501Y in the ACE2 interacting surface. We examine the ability of B.1.1.7 to evade antibody responses elicited by natural SARS-CoV-2 infection or vaccination. We map the impact of N501Y by structure/function analysis of a large panel of well-characterized monoclonal antibodies. B.1.1.7 is harder to neutralize than parental virus, compromising neutralization by some members of a major class of public antibodies through light-chain contacts with residue 501. However, widespread escape from monoclonal antibodies or antibody responses generated by natural infection or vaccination was not observed.
<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>Viral replication is defined by the cellular microenvironment and one key factor is local oxygen tension, where hypoxia inducible factors (HIFs) regulate the cellular response to oxygen. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infected cells within secondary lymphoid tissues exist in a low-oxygen or hypoxic environment in vivo. However, the majority of studies on HIV replication and latency are performed under laboratory conditions where HIFs are inactive. We show a role for HIF-2α in restricting HIV transcription via direct binding to the viral promoter. Hypoxia reduced tumor necrosis factor or histone deacetylase inhibitor, Romidepsin, mediated reactivation of HIV and inhibiting HIF signaling-pathways reversed this phenotype. Our data support a model where the low-oxygen environment of the lymph node may suppress HIV replication and promote latency. We identify a mechanism that may contribute to the limited efficacy of latency reversing agents in reactivating HIV and suggest new strategies to control latent HIV-1.</jats:p>
<jats:title>Abstract</jats:title><jats:p>Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a major cause of liver disease and cancer worldwide for which there are no curative therapies. The major challenge in curing infection is eradicating or silencing the covalent closed circular DNA (cccDNA) form of the viral genome. The circadian factors BMAL1/CLOCK and REV-ERB are master regulators of the liver transcriptome and yet their role in HBV replication is unknown. We establish a circadian cycling liver cell-model and demonstrate that REV-ERB directly regulates NTCP-dependent hepatitis B and delta virus particle entry. Importantly, we show that pharmacological activation of REV-ERB inhibits HBV infection in vitro and in human liver chimeric mice. We uncover a role for BMAL1 to bind HBV genomes and increase viral promoter activity. Pharmacological inhibition of BMAL1 through REV-ERB ligands reduces pre-genomic RNA and de novo particle secretion. The presence of conserved E-box motifs among members of the Hepadnaviridae family highlight an evolutionarily conserved role for BMAL1 in regulating this family of small DNA viruses.</jats:p>
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is an enveloped DNA virus that contains a partially double-stranded relaxed circular (rc) DNA. Upon infection, rcDNA is delivered to the nucleus where it is repaired to covalently closed circular (ccc) DNA that serves as the transcription template for all viral RNAs. Our understanding of HBV particle entry dynamics and host pathways regulating intracellular virus trafficking and cccDNA formation is limited. The discovery of sodium taurocholate co-transporting peptide (NTCP) as the primary receptor allows studies on these early steps in viral life cycle. We employed a synchronised infection protocol to quantify HBV entry kinetics. HBV attachment to cells at 4°C is independent of NTCP, however, subsequent particle uptake is NTCP-dependent and reaches saturation at 12 h post-infection. HBV uptake is clathrin- and dynamin dependent with actin and tubulin playing a role in the first 6 h of infection. Cellular fractionation studies demonstrate HBV DNA in the nucleus within 6 h of infection and cccDNA was first detected at 24 h post-infection. Our studies show the majority (83%) of cell bound particles enter HepG2-NTCP cells, however, only a minority (<1%) of intracellular rcDNA was converted to cccDNA, highlighting this as a rate-limiting in establishing infection in vitro. This knowledge highlights the deficiencies in our in vitro cell culture systems and will inform the design and evaluation of physiologically relevant models that support efficient HBV replication.
Circadian rhythms are evolutionarily conserved anticipatory systems that allow the host to prepare and respond to threats in its environment. This article summarizes a European Biological Rhythms Society (EBRS) workshop held in July 2020 to review current knowledge of the interplay between the circadian clock and viral infections to inform therapeutic strategies against SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19. A large body of work supports the role of the circadian clock in regulating various aspects of viral replication, host responses, and associated pathogenesis. We review the evidence describing the multifaceted role of the circadian clock, spanning host susceptibility, antiviral mechanisms, and host resilience. Finally, we define the most pressing research questions and how our knowledge of chronobiology can inform key translational research priorities.