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Current Opinion in Virology

David Tabernero, Maria Francesca Cortese, Maria Buti, Francisco Rodriguez-Frias
Hepatitis D virus (HDV) is a hepatotropic subviral infectious agent, obligate satellite of the Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and is highly related to viroids. HDV affects around 5% of the 257 million chronic HBV-carriers worldwide, leading to the most severe form of chronic viral hepatitis. Interferon alpha is the only approved treatment for chronic hepatitis D, albeit with low response rates (around 20%-30%). New antiviral strategies are currently under study. Due to the high viral evolution rates (10-3 to 10-4 substitutions/site/year) HDV forms an extremely complex viral population (quasispecies) that can be studied by Next-Generation Sequencing...
November 8, 2018: Current Opinion in Virology
Zhirui Yang, Yi Li
RNA interference (RNAi)-based antiviral defense is a small RNA-dependent repression mechanism of plants to against viruses. Although the core components of antiviral RNAi are well known, it is unclear whether additional factors exist that regulate RNAi. Recently, a forward genetic screen identified two novel components of antiviral RNAi, providing important insights into the antiviral RNAi mechanism. Meanwhile, it was discovered that microRNAs make important contributions to host antiviral RNAi. On the other hand, to counteract host antiviral RNAi, most viruses encode viral suppressors of RNA silencing (VSRs)...
October 30, 2018: Current Opinion in Virology
Daniel Todt, Toni Luise Meister, Eike Steinmann
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) can cause chronic infections in immunosuppressed patients with adverse clinical outcomes. Intervention strategies are limited with ribavirin (RBV) being the only main therapeutic option as off-label drug. Recent reports on RBV monotherapy failures show a coherence with the presence of certain single nucleotide variants (SNVs) and in-frame insertions in the hypervariable region of open reading frame 1 in the HEV genome. Importantly, some of the alterations were present in the viral population as minor variant before RBV administration...
October 29, 2018: Current Opinion in Virology
Nathan A Krump, Wei Liu, Jianxin You
Virus infection contributes to nearly 15% of human cancers worldwide. Many of the oncogenic viruses tend to cause cancer in immunosuppressed individuals, but maintain asymptomatic, persistent infection for decades in the general population. In this review, we discuss the tactics employed by two small DNA tumor viruses, Human papillomavirus (HPV) and Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV), to establish persistent infection. We will also highlight recent key findings as well as outstanding questions regarding the mechanisms by which HPV and MCPyV evade host immune control to promote their survival...
September 29, 2018: Current Opinion in Virology
Peter E Prevelige, Juliana R Cortines
Virus infections are ultimately dependent on a successful viral genome delivery to the host cell. The bacteriophage family Caudovirales evolved specialized machinery that fulfills this function: the portal proteins complex. The complexes are arranged as dodecameric rings and are a structural part of capsids incorporated at a five-fold vertex. They are involved in crucial aspects of viral replication, such as virion assembly, DNA packaging and DNA delivery. This review focuses on the organization and the mechanism through which these portal complexes achieve viral genome delivery and their similarities to other viral portal complexes...
September 28, 2018: Current Opinion in Virology
Oliver Manners, James C Murphy, Alex Coleman, David J Hughes, Adrian Whitehouse
Kaposi's Sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) and Epstein Barr virus (EBV) are the causative agents of several malignancies. Like all herpesviruses, KSHV and EBV undergo distinct latent and lytic replication programmes. The transition between these states allows the establishment of a lifelong persistent infection, dissemination to sites of disease and the spread to new hosts. Latency-associated viral proteins have been well characterised in transformation and tumourigenesis pathways; however, a number of studies have shown that abrogation of KSHV and EBV lytic gene expression impairs the oncogenesis of several cancers...
September 27, 2018: Current Opinion in Virology
Marta M Gaglia, Karl Munger
Most humans are infected with at least one of the known human cancer viruses during their lifetimes. While the initial infection with these viruses does not cause major disease, infected cells can acquire cancer hallmarks, particularly upon immunosuppression or exposure to co-carcinogenic stimuli. Even though cancer formation represents a rare outcome of a viral infection, approximately one out of eight human cancers has a viral etiology. Viral cancers present unique opportunities for prophylaxis, diagnosis, and therapy, as demonstrated by the success of HBV and HPV vaccines and HCV antivirals in decreasing the incidence of tumors that are caused by these viruses...
September 27, 2018: Current Opinion in Virology
Joseph M Dybas, Christin Herrmann, Matthew D Weitzman
Viruses exploit cellular ubiquitination machinery to shape the host proteome and promote productive infection. Among the cellular processes influenced by viral manipulation of ubiquitination is the DNA damage response (DDR), a network of cellular signaling pathways that sense and respond to genomic damage. This host-pathogen interaction is particularly important during virus replication and transformation by DNA tumor viruses. Manipulating DDR pathways can promote virus replication but also impacts host genomic instability, potentially leading to cellular transformation and tumor formation...
September 24, 2018: Current Opinion in Virology
Guy Baele, Simon Dellicour, Marc A Suchard, Philippe Lemey, Bram Vrancken
Time-stamped, trait-annotated phylogenetic trees built from virus genome data are increasingly used for outbreak investigation and monitoring ongoing epidemics. This routinely involves reconstructing the spatial and demographic processes from large data sets to help unveil the patterns and drivers of virus spread. Such phylodynamic inferences can however become quite time-consuming as the dimensions of the data increase, which has led to a myriad of approaches that aim to tackle this complexity. To elucidate the current state of the art in the field of phylodynamics, we discuss recent developments in Bayesian inference and accompanying software, highlight methods for improving computational efficiency and relevant visualisation tools...
September 21, 2018: Current Opinion in Virology
Maëlle Deshoux, Baptiste Monsion, Marilyne Uzest
Many viruses of agricultural importance are transmitted to host plants via insect vectors. Characterizing virus-vector interactions at the molecular level is essential if we are to fully understand the transmission mechanisms involved and develop new strategies to control viral spread. Hitherto, insect proteins involved in virus transmission have been characterized only poorly. Recent advances in this topic, however, have significantly filled this knowledge gap. Among the vector molecules identified, cuticular proteins have emerged as key molecules for plant virus transmission, regardless of transmission mode or vector considered...
September 20, 2018: Current Opinion in Virology
Alana Lynn Jacobson, Siobain Duffy, Peter Sseruwagi
Emerging plant viruses are one of the greatest problems facing crop production worldwide, and have severe consequences in the developing world where subsistence farming is a major source of food production, and knowledge and resources for management are limited. In Africa, evolution of two viral disease complexes, cassava mosaic begomoviruses (CMBs) (Geminiviridae) and cassava brown streak viruses (CBSVs) (Potyviridae), have resulted in severe pandemics that continue to spread and threaten cassava production...
September 19, 2018: Current Opinion in Virology
Kendra A Bussey, Melanie M Brinkmann
Immune evasion is a hallmark of viral persistence. For the seven human tumor viruses to establish lifelong infection in their hosts, they must successfully control the host response to them. Viral inhibition of immune responses occurs at many levels. While some viruses directly target the pattern recognition receptors (PRR) of the innate immune system, they may also antagonize downstream effectors of PRR signaling cascades or activation of transcription, which would otherwise induce a type I interferon (IFN) and/or pro-inflammatory cytokine response...
September 18, 2018: Current Opinion in Virology
Corey Smith, Rajiv Khanna
It is estimated that 60-70% of cancers associated with infectious agents are linked to viral infections. Both RNA and DNA viruses that can establish persistent infection exploit various mechanisms including host cell immortalization through genomic instability, chronic inflammation and immune escape, to promote oncogenic transformation of human cells. Expression of selected viral proteins in malignant cells provides a unique opportunity to employ targeted therapies that can disrupt the cellular proliferation and prevent collateral damage caused by standard clinical therapies...
September 18, 2018: Current Opinion in Virology
Darren J Obbard
Metagenomic sequencing has led to a recent and rapid expansion of the animal virome. It has uncovered a multitude of new virus lineages from under-sampled host groups, including many that break up long branches in the virus tree, and many that display unexpected genome sizes and structures. Although there are challenges to inferring the existence of a virus from a `virus-like sequence', in the absence of an isolate the analysis of nucleic acid (including small RNAs) and sequence data can provide considerable confidence...
September 17, 2018: Current Opinion in Virology
Arvind Varsani, Pierre Lefeuvre, Philippe Roumagnac, Darren Martin
Besides evolving through nucleotide substitution, viruses frequently also evolve by genetic recombination which can occur when related viral variants co-infect the same cells. Viruses with segmented or multipartite genomes can additionally evolve via the reassortment of genomic components. Various computational techniques are now available for identifying and characterizing recombination and reassortment. While these techniques have revealed both that all well studied segmented and multipartite virus species show some capacity for reassortment, and that recombination is common in many multipartite species, they have indicated that recombination is either rare or does not occur in species with segmented genomes...
September 17, 2018: Current Opinion in Virology
Thomas C Frost, Benjamin E Gewurz
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a gamma-herpesvirus that establishes lifelong infection in the majority of people worldwide. EBV uses epigenetic reprogramming to switch between multiple latency states in order to colonize the memory B-cell compartment and to then periodically undergo lytic reactivation upon plasma cell differentiation. This review focuses on recent advances in the understanding of epigenetic mechanisms that EBV uses to control its lifecycle and to subvert the growth and survival pathways that underly EBV-driven B-cell differentiation versus B-cell growth transformation, a hallmark of the first human tumor virus...
September 15, 2018: Current Opinion in Virology
Paul J Wichgers Schreur, Richard Kormelink, Jeroen Kortekaas
The order Bunyavirales comprises nine families of enveloped, negative-strand RNA viruses. Depending on the family and genus, bunyaviruses (i.e. now referring to all members of the Bunyavirales) contain genomes consisting of two to six segments. Each genome segment is encapsidated by multiple copies of the nucleocapsid (N) protein and one or a few molecules of the viral polymerase, forming so-called ribonucleoproteins (RNPs). Incorporation of RNPs into virions is mediated by the interaction of N with the cytoplasmic tails of the structural glycoproteins...
September 15, 2018: Current Opinion in Virology
Romain Gallet, Yannis Michalakis, Stéphane Blanc
Because plants are sessile and their cells protected by a cell wall, the contact transmission of plant viruses is very rare. Almost all plant viruses are transmitted by vectors, which can be insects, nematodes, mites or fungi. Although very efficient, this mode of transmission is not trivial and imposes numerous constraints on viruses. In this review we show that these constraints apply at all stages of the transmission process and at all scales, from the molecular to ecological interactions. We discuss several viral adaptations that likely reflect sophisticated means to alleviate these constraints and to maximize transmission, and we point at gaps and future directions in this field of research...
September 14, 2018: Current Opinion in Virology
Jaclyn S Zhou, Martin Drucker, James Ck Ng
Plant viruses that are transmitted in a non-circulative, semi-persistent (NCSP) manner have determinants on, and/or accessories to, their capsids that facilitate virion binding to specific retention sites in their insect vectors. Bilateral interactions and interactions occurring at the nexus of all three partners (virus, vector and plant) also contribute to transmission by influencing virus acquisition and inoculation. Vector feeding behavior lies at the core of this trio of virus transmission processes (retention-acquisition-inoculation), but transmission may also be mediated by virus infection-triggered and/or vector feeding-triggered plant cues that influence behavioral responses such as vector attraction, deterrence and dispersal...
September 10, 2018: Current Opinion in Virology
David Gilmer, Claudio Ratti, Fabrice Michel
All living organisms have to preserve genome integrity to ensure the survival of progeny generations. Viruses, though often regarded as 'non living', protect their nucleic acids from biotic and abiotic stresses, ranging from nuclease action to radiation-induced adducts. When the viral genome is split into multiple segments, preservation of at least one copy of each segment is required. While segmented and monopartite viruses use an all-in-one strategy, multipartite viruses have to address in the cell at least one of each viral particle in which the split positive stranded RNA genome is individually packaged...
September 7, 2018: Current Opinion in Virology
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