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Biosci Rep ; 42(2)2022 02 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1655685


Lassa virus (LASV), an arenavirus endemic to West Africa, causes Lassa fever-a lethal hemorrhagic fever. Entry of LASV into the host cell is mediated by the glycoprotein complex (GPC), which is the only protein located on the viral surface and comprises three subunits: glycoprotein 1 (GP1), glycoprotein 2 (GP2), and a stable signal peptide (SSP). The LASV GPC is a class one viral fusion protein, akin to those found in viruses such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), influenza, Ebola virus (EBOV), and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). These viruses are enveloped and utilize membrane fusion to deliver their genetic material to the host cell. Like other class one fusion proteins, LASV-mediated membrane fusion occurs through an orchestrated sequence of conformational changes in its GPC. The receptor-binding subunit, GP1, first engages with a host cell receptor then undergoes a unique receptor switch upon delivery to the late endosome. The acidic pH and change in receptor result in the dissociation of GP1, exposing the fusion subunit, GP2, such that fusion can occur. These events ultimately lead to the formation of a fusion pore so that the LASV genetic material is released into the host cell. Interestingly, the mature GPC retains its SSP as a third subunit-a feature that is unique to arenaviruses. Additionally, the fusion domain contains two separate fusion peptides, instead of a standard singular fusion peptide. Here, we give a comprehensive review of the LASV GPC components and their unusual features.

Glycoproteins , Lassa virus , Viral Envelope Proteins , Glycoproteins/genetics , Humans , Lassa virus/genetics , Viral Envelope Proteins/genetics , Virus Internalization
Viruses ; 13(8)2021 08 13.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1376992


While investigating a signal of adaptive evolution in humans at the gene LARGE, we encountered an intriguing finding by Dr. Stefan Kunz that the gene plays a critical role in Lassa virus binding and entry. This led us to pursue field work to test our hypothesis that natural selection acting on LARGE-detected in the Yoruba population of Nigeria-conferred resistance to Lassa Fever in some West African populations. As we delved further, we conjectured that the "emerging" nature of recently discovered diseases like Lassa fever is related to a newfound capacity for detection, rather than a novel viral presence, and that humans have in fact been exposed to the viruses that cause such diseases for much longer than previously suspected. Dr. Stefan Kunz's critical efforts not only laid the groundwork for this discovery, but also inspired and catalyzed a series of events that birthed Sentinel, an ambitious and large-scale pandemic prevention effort in West Africa. Sentinel aims to detect and characterize deadly pathogens before they spread across the globe, through implementation of its three fundamental pillars: Detect, Connect, and Empower. More specifically, Sentinel is designed to detect known and novel infections rapidly, connect and share information in real time to identify emerging threats, and empower the public health community to improve pandemic preparedness and response anywhere in the world. We are proud to dedicate this work to Stefan Kunz, and eagerly invite new collaborators, experts, and others to join us in our efforts.

Disaster Planning , Lassa Fever/epidemiology , Lassa virus/physiology , Africa, Western/epidemiology , Disaster Planning/methods , Humans , Lassa Fever/genetics , Lassa Fever/prevention & control , Lassa Fever/virology , Lassa virus/genetics , N-Acetylglucosaminyltransferases/genetics , N-Acetylglucosaminyltransferases/immunology , Nigeria/epidemiology , Pandemics , Polymorphism, Genetic , Receptors, Virus/genetics , Receptors, Virus/immunology
Viruses ; 12(12)2020 12 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-979668


Viral entry is the first stage in the virus replication cycle and, for enveloped viruses, is mediated by virally encoded glycoproteins. Viral glycoproteins have different receptor affinities and triggering mechanisms. We employed vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), a BSL-2 enveloped virus that can incorporate non-native glycoproteins, to examine the entry efficiencies of diverse viral glycoproteins. To compare the glycoprotein-mediated entry efficiencies of VSV glycoprotein (G), Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike (S), Ebola (EBOV) glycoprotein (GP), Lassa (LASV) GP, and Chikungunya (CHIKV) envelope (E) protein, we produced recombinant VSV (rVSV) viruses that produce the five glycoproteins. The rVSV virions encoded a nano luciferase (NLucP) reporter gene fused to a destabilization domain (PEST), which we used in combination with the live-cell substrate EndurazineTM to monitor viral entry kinetics in real time. Our data indicate that rVSV particles with glycoproteins that require more post-internalization priming typically demonstrate delayed entry in comparison to VSV G. In addition to determining the time required for each virus to complete entry, we also used our system to evaluate viral cell surface receptor preferences, monitor fusion, and elucidate endocytosis mechanisms. This system can be rapidly employed to examine diverse viral glycoproteins and their entry requirements.

Gene Expression , Genetic Vectors/genetics , Glycoproteins/genetics , Vesicular stomatitis Indiana virus/genetics , Viral Envelope Proteins/genetics , Virus Internalization , Animals , Cell Line , Chikungunya virus/genetics , Chlorocebus aethiops , Cloning, Molecular , Ebolavirus/genetics , Gene Order , Genes, Reporter , Humans , Lassa virus/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Time Factors , Vero Cells , Virus Replication