Characterization of Rift Valley Fever Virus MP-12 Strain Encoding NSs of Punta Toro Virus or Sandfly Fever Sicilian Virus.

Characterization of Rift Valley Fever Virus MP-12 Strain Encoding NSs of Punta Toro Virus or Sandfly Fever Sicilian Virus.

PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2013 Apr; 7(4): e2181
Lihoradova OA, Indran SV, Kalveram B, Lokugamage N, Head JA, Gong B, Tigabu B, Juelich TL, Freiberg AN, Ikegami T

Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV; genus Phlebovirus, family Bunyaviridae) is a mosquito-borne zoonotic pathogen which can cause hemorrhagic fever, neurological disorders or blindness in humans, and a high rate of abortion in ruminants. MP-12 strain, a live-attenuated candidate vaccine, is attenuated in the M- and L-segments, but the S-segment retains the virulent phenotype. MP-12 was manufactured as an Investigational New Drug vaccine by using MRC-5 cells and encodes a functional NSs gene, the major virulence factor of RVFV which 1) induces a shutoff of the host transcription, 2) inhibits interferon (IFN)-? promoter activation, and 3) promotes the degradation of dsRNA-dependent protein kinase (PKR). MP-12 lacks a marker for differentiation of infected from vaccinated animals (DIVA). Although MP-12 lacking NSs works for DIVA, it does not replicate efficiently in type-I IFN-competent MRC-5 cells, while the use of type-I IFN-incompetent cells may negatively affect its genetic stability. To generate modified MP-12 vaccine candidates encoding a DIVA marker, while still replicating efficiently in MRC-5 cells, we generated recombinant MP-12 encoding Punta Toro virus Adames strain NSs (rMP12-PTNSs) or Sandfly fever Sicilian virus NSs (rMP12-SFSNSs) in place of MP-12 NSs. We have demonstrated that those recombinant MP-12 viruses inhibit IFN-? mRNA synthesis, yet do not promote the degradation of PKR. The rMP12-PTNSs, but not rMP12-SFSNSs, replicated more efficiently than recombinant MP-12 lacking NSs in MRC-5 cells. Mice vaccinated with rMP12-PTNSs or rMP12-SFSNSs induced neutralizing antibodies at a level equivalent to those vaccinated with MP-12, and were efficiently protected from wild-type RVFV challenge. The rMP12-PTNSs and rMP12-SFSNSs did not induce antibodies cross-reactive to anti-RVFV NSs antibody and are therefore applicable to DIVA. Thus, rMP12-PTNSs is highly efficacious, replicates efficiently in MRC-5 cells, and encodes a DIVA marker, all of which are important for vaccine development for Rift Valley fever. HubMed – drug


Use of natural products as chemical library for drug discovery and network pharmacology.

PLoS One. 2013; 8(4): e62839
Gu J, Gui Y, Chen L, Yuan G, Lu HZ, Xu X

Natural products have been an important source of lead compounds for drug discovery. How to find and evaluate bioactive natural products is critical to the achievement of drug/lead discovery from natural products.We collected 19,7201 natural products structures, reported biological activities and virtual screening results. Principal component analysis was employed to explore the chemical space, and we found that there was a large portion of overlap between natural products and FDA-approved drugs in the chemical space, which indicated that natural products had large quantity of potential lead compounds. We also explored the network properties of natural product-target networks and found that polypharmacology was greatly enriched to those compounds with large degree and high betweenness centrality. In order to make up for a lack of experimental data, high throughput virtual screening was employed. All natural products were docked to 332 target proteins of FDA-approved drugs. The most potential natural products for drug discovery and their indications were predicted based on a docking score-weighted prediction model.Analysis of molecular descriptors, distribution in chemical space and biological activities of natural products was conducted in this article. Natural products have vast chemical diversity, good drug-like properties and can interact with multiple cellular target proteins. HubMed – drug


Skeletal lesions in human tuberculosis may sometimes heal: an aid to palaeopathological diagnoses.

PLoS One. 2013; 8(4): e62798
Holloway KL, Link K, Rühli F, Henneberg M

In three to five percent of active cases of tuberculosis, skeletal lesions develop. Typically, these occur on the vertebrae and are destructive in nature. In this paper, we examined cases of skeletal tuberculosis from a skeletal collection (Galler Collection) with focus on the manifestation of bony changes due to tuberculosis in various body regions in association with antibiotic introduction. This skeletal collection was created in 1925-1977 by a pathologist at the University Hospital in Zürich, Ernst Galler. It includes the remains of 2426 individuals with documented clinical histories as well as autopsies. It contained 29 cases of skeletal tuberculosis lesions. We observed natural healing of vertebral lesions through several processes including fusion of vertebrae, bone deposition and fusion of posterior elements. In these cases, we observed a higher frequency and proportion of bone deposition and fusion of posterior vertebral elements where pharmacological agents were used. There were also four cases of artificial healing through surgically induced posterior spinal fusion. With the introduction of pharmaceutical treatments, the number of individuals with multiple tuberculous foci decreased from 80% to 25% when compared to individuals who did not receive any drug therapy. Investigation of comorbidities showed that pneumonia, pleuritis and being underweight were consistently present, even with pharmaceutical treatment. Our results have applications in palaeopathological diagnoses where healing and consequent bone deposition may complicate differential diagnoses. HubMed – drug