The Pirbright Institute publication directory contains details of selected publications written by our researchers.

There were a total of 1637 results for your search.
Xu J, Wu J, Jiang B, He H, Zhang X, Li X, Yang D, Huang X, Sealy J E, Iqbal M, Li Y (2017)

Bovine single chain Fv antibody inhibits bovine herpesvirus-1 infectivity by targeting viral glycoprotein D

Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology 101 (23-24), 8331-8344


Glycoprotein D (gD) of bovine herpesvirus-1 (BoHV-1) is essential for attachment and penetration of cells during infection and is a major target for neutralizing antibodies during an adaptive immune response. Currently there are no recombinant antibodies capable of binding gD epitopes for use in treating BoHV-1 infection. In this study, a bovine scFv gene derived from a hybridoma secreting monoclonal antibodies (McAbs) against the amino acid motif MEESKGYEPP of gD was expressed in E. coli. Molecular modeling, western blot and ELISA analysis showed that this scFv had a high affinity for BoHV-1 gD, with a Kd of 161.2 +/- 37.58 nM and for whole BoHV-1 virus, with a Kd of 67.44 +/- 16.99 nM. In addition, this scFv displayed a high affinity for BoHV-1 antigen in an ELISA and competed with BoHV-1 anti-serum in a competitive ELISA. Immunofluorescence assay (IFA) and laser confocal microscopy showed that this scFv could efficiently bind to and be internalized by BoHV-1 infected Madin-Darby bovine kidney (MDBK) cells. Importantly, this scFv was shown to inhibit BoHV-1 infectivity and to reduce the number of viral plaques by blocking viral attachment to MDBK cells. Our study suggests that this bovine single-chain antibody could be developed for use as a diagnostic and therapeutic agent against BoHV-1 infection in cattle.

Schwartz J C, Philp R L, Bickhart D M, Smith T P L, Hammond J A (2017)

The antibody loci of the domestic goat (Capra hircus)

Immunogenetics early view,


The domestic goat (Capra hircus) is an important ruminant species both as a source of antibody-based reagents for research and biomedical applications and as an economically important animal for agriculture, particularly for developing nations that maintain most of the global goat population. Characterization of the loci encoding the goat immune repertoire would be highly beneficial for both vaccine and immune reagent development. However, in goat and other species whose reference genomes were generated using short-read sequencing technologies, the immune loci are poorly assembled as a result of their repetitive nature. Our recent construction of a long-read goat genome assembly (ARS1) has facilitated characterization of all three antibody loci with high confidence and comparative analysis to cattle. We observed broad similarity of goat and cattle antibody-encoding loci but with notable differences that likely influence formation of the functional antibody repertoire. The goat heavychain locus is restricted to only four functional and nearly identical IGHV genes, in contrast to the ten observed in cattle. Repertoire analysis indicates that light-chain usage is more balanced in goats, with greater representation of kappa light chains (~ 20–30%) compared to that in cattle (~ 5%). The present study represents the first characterization of the goat antibody loci and will help inform future investigations of their antibody responses to disease and vaccination.

Logan G, Newman J, Wright C F, Lasecka-Dykes L, Haydon D T, Cottam E M, Tuthill T J (2017)

Deep sequencing of foot-and-mouth disease virus reveals RNA sequences involved in genome packaging

Journal of General Virology early view,


Non-enveloped viruses protect their genomes by packaging them into an outer shell or capsid of virus-encoded proteins. Packaging and capsid assembly in RNA viruses can involve interactions between capsid proteins and secondary structures in the viral genome as exemplified by the RNA bacteriophage MS2 and as proposed for other RNA viruses of plants, animals and human. In the picornavirus family of non-enveloped RNA viruses, the requirements for genome packaging remain poorly understood. Here we show a novel and simple approach to identify predicted RNA secondary structures involved in genome packaging in the picornavirus foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV). By interrogating deep sequencing data generated from both packaged and unpackaged populations of RNA we have determined multiple regions of the genome with constrained variation in the packaged population. Predicted secondary structures of these regions revealed stem loops with conservation of structure and a common motif at the loop. Disruption of these features resulted in attenuation of virus growth in cell culture due to a reduction in assembly of mature virions. This study provides evidence for the involvement of predicted RNA structures in picornavirus packaging and offers a readily transferable methodology for identifying packaging requirements in many other viruses.Importance In order to transmit their genetic material to a new host, non-enveloped viruses must protect their genomes by packaging them into an outer shell or capsid of virus-encoded proteins. For many non-enveloped RNA viruses the requirements for this critical part of the viral life cycle remain poorly understood. We have identified RNA sequences involved in genome packaging of the picornavirus foot-and-mouth disease virus. This virus causes an economically devastating disease of livestock affecting both the developed and developing world. The experimental methods developed to carry out this work are novel, simple and transferable to the study of packaging signals in other RNA viruses. Improved understanding of RNA packaging may lead to novel vaccine approaches or targets for antiviral drugs with broad spectrum activity.

Hagglund S, Blodorn K, Naslund K, Vargmar K, Lind S B, Mi J, Arainga M, Riffault S, Taylor G, Pringle J, Valarcher J F (2017)

Proteome analysis of bronchoalveolar lavage from calves infected with bovine respiratory syncytial virus-Insights in pathogenesis and perspectives for new treatments

PLoS One 12 (10), e0186594


Human and bovine respiratory syncytial viruses (HRSV/BRSV) are major causes of severe lower respiratory tract infections in children and calves, respectively. Shared epidemiological, clinical, pathological and genetic characteristics of these viruses make comparative research highly relevant. To characterise the host response against BRSV infection, bronchoalveolar lavage supernatant (BAL) from i) non-vaccinated, BRSV-infected ii) vaccinated, BRSV-infected and iii) non-infected calves was analysed by tandem mass spectrometry. Proteins were semi-quantified and protein expression was validated by immunoblotting. Correlations between selected proteins and pathology, clinical signs and virus shedding were investigated. Calves with BRSV-induced disease had increased total protein concentrations and a decreased number of proteins identified in BAL. The protein profile was characterised by neutrophil activation and a reduction in identified antioxidant enzymes. The presence of neutrophils in alveolar septa, the expression level of neutrophil-related or antioxidant proteins and LZTFL1 correlated significantly with disease. Citrullinated histone 3, an indicator of extracellular traps (ETs), was only detected in non-vaccinated, BRSV-infected animals. By bringing disequilibrium in the release and detoxification of reactive oxygen species, generating ETs and causing elastine degradation, exaggerated neutrophil responses might exacerbate RSV-induced disease. Neutrophil-mitigating or antioxidant treatments should be further explored.

Jacquot M, Nomikou K, Palmarini M, Mertens P, Biek R (2017)

Bluetongue virus spread in Europe is a consequence of climatic, landscape and vertebrate host factors as revealed by phylogeographic inference

Proceedings of the Royal Society B 284 (1864), 20170919


Spatio-temporal patterns of the spread of infectious diseases are commonly driven by environmental and ecological factors. This is particularly true for vector-borne diseases because vector populations can be strongly affected by host distribution as well as by climatic and landscape variables. Here, we aim to identify environmental drivers for bluetongue virus (BTV), the causative agent of a major vector-borne disease of ruminants that has emerged multiple times in Europe in recent decades. In order to determine the importance of climatic, landscape and host-related factors affecting BTV diffusion across Europe, we fitted different phylogeographic models to a dataset of 113 time-stamped and geo-referenced BTV genomes, representing multiple strains and serotypes. Diffusion models using continuous space revealed that terrestrial habitat below 300 m altitude, wind direction and higher livestock densities were associated with faster BTV movement. Results of discrete phylogeographic analysis involving generalized linear models broadly supported these findings, but varied considerably with the level of spatial partitioning. Contrary to common perception, we found no evidence for average temperature having a positive effect on BTV diffusion, though both methodological and biological reasons could be responsible for this result. Our study provides important insights into the drivers of BTV transmission at the landscape scale that could inform predictive models of viral spread and have implications for designing control strategies.

Arias M, de la Torre A, Dixon L, Gallardo C, Jori F, Laddomada A, Martins C, Parkhouse R M, Revilla Y, Rodriguez F A J, Sanchez V (2017)

Approaches and perspectives for development of African swine fever virus vaccines

Vaccines (Basel) 5 (4),


African swine fever (ASF) is a complex disease of swine, caused by a large DNA virus belonging to the family Asfarviridae. The disease shows variable clinical signs, with high case fatality rates, up to 100%, in the acute forms. ASF is currently present in Africa and Europe where it circulates in different scenarios causing a high socio-economic impact. In most affected regions, control has not been effective in part due to lack of a vaccine. The availability of an effective and safe ASFV vaccines would support and enforce control-eradication strategies. Therefore, work leading to the rational development of protective ASF vaccines is a high priority. Several factors have hindered vaccine development, including the complexity of the ASF virus particle and the large number of proteins encoded by its genome. Many of these virus proteins inhibit the host's immune system thus facilitating virus replication and persistence. We review previous work aimed at understanding ASFV-host interactions, including mechanisms of protective immunity, and approaches for vaccine development. These include live attenuated vaccines, and "subunit" vaccines, based on DNA, proteins, or virus vectors. In the shorter to medium term, live attenuated vaccines are the most promising and best positioned candidates. Gaps and future research directions are evaluated.

Almansa R, Martínez-Orellana P, Rico L, Iglesias V, Ortega A, Vidaña B, Martínez J, Expósito A, Montoya M, Bermejo-Martin J F (2017)

Pulmonary transcriptomic responses indicate a dual role of inflammation in pneumonia development and viral clearance during 2009 pandemic influenza infection

PeerJ 5, e3915
Publisher’s version:


The interaction between influenza virus and the host response to infection clearly plays an important role in determining the outcome of infection. While much is known on the participation of inflammation on the pathogenesis of severe A (H1N1) pandemic 09-influenza virus, its role in the course of non-fatal pneumonia has not been fully addressed. Methods: A systems biology approach was used to define gene expression profiles, histology and viral dynamics in the lungs of healthy immune-competent mice with pneumonia caused by a human influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 virus, which successfully resolved the infection. Results: Viral infection activated a marked pro-inflammatory response at the lung level paralleling the emergence of histological changes. Cellular immune response and cytokine signaling were the two signaling pathway categories more representative of our analysis. This transcriptome response was associated to viral clearance, and its resolution was accompanied by resolution of histopathology. Discussion: These findings suggest a dual role of pulmonary inflammation in viral clearance and development of pneumonia during non-fatal infection caused by the 2009 pandemic influenza virus. Understanding the dynamics of the host’s transcriptomic and virological changes over the course of the infection caused by A (H1N1) pdm09 virus may help identifying the immune response profiles associated with an effective response against influenza virus.

Rajko-Nenow P Z, Cunliffe T G, Flannery J T, Ropiak H M, Avaliani L, Donduashvili M, Baron M D, Batten C A (2017)

Complete genome sequence of peste des petits ruminants virus from Georgia, 2016

Genome Announcements 5 (41),


We report here the complete genome sequence of a peste des petits ruminants virus (PPRV) from the first outbreak of the disease in Georgia in January 2016. Genome sequencing was performed using Illumina next-generation sequencing technology in conjunction with Sanger sequencing. This PPRV/Georgia/Tbilisi/2016 genome sequence clustered within lineage IV PPRV viruses.

Baron M D, Diop B, Njeumi F, Willett B J, Bailey D (2017)

Future research to underpin successful peste des petits ruminants virus (PPRV) eradication

Journal of General Virology 98 (11), 2635-2644


Peste des petits ruminants virus (PPRV) is a significant pathogen of small ruminants and is prevalent in much of Africa, the Near and Middle East and Asia. Despite the availability of an efficacious and cheap live-attenuated vaccine, the virus has continued to spread, with its range stretching from Morocco in the west to China and Mongolia in the east. Some of the world's poorest communities rely on small ruminant farming for subsistence and the continued endemicity of PPRV is a constant threat to their livelihoods. Moreover, PPRV's effects on the world's population are felt broadly across many economic, agricultural and social situations. This far-reaching impact has prompted the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to develop a global strategy for the eradication of this virus and its disease. PPRV is a morbillivirus and, given the experience of these organizations in eradicating the related rinderpest virus, the eradication of PPRV should be feasible. However, there are many critical areas where basic and applied virological research concerning PPRV is lacking. The purpose of this review is to highlight areas where new research could be performed in order to guide and facilitate the eradication programme. These areas include studies on disease transmission and epidemiology, the existence of wildlife reservoirs and the development of next-generation vaccines and diagnostics. With the support of the international virology community, the successful eradication of PPRV can be achieved.

Brown-Joseph T, Batten C, Harrup L E, Frost L, Flannery J, Hicks H, Ramkissoon V, Ramdeen R, Carrington C V, Oura C A L (2017)

Bluetongue virus infection in naïve cattle: identification of circulating serotypes and associated Culicoides biting midge species in Trinidad

Veterinary Microbiology 211, 1-5


To better understand risks associated with trading cattle, it is important to know which serotypes of Bluetongue virus (BTV) are circulating within the exporting and importing country. Hence, this study was conducted to identify the circulating serotypes of BTV in Trinidad. Blood samples were collected monthly from sixty BTV- naïve imported cattle over a six month period after their arrival in the country. Virological (PCR and virus isolation) and serological (ELISA) analyses were carried out on the samples and CDC light traps were placed near the cattle enclosure to trap and identify the species of Culicoides biting midges that were present. All of the cattle seroconverted for BTV antibodies within three months of their arrival in the country and real-time reverse transcription PCR (rRT-PCR) detected BTV-RNA in the samples throughout the remainder of the study. The patterns of infection observed in the cattle indicated serial infections with multiple serotypes. A combination of BTV serotype-specific rRT-PCR on the original blood samples and virus isolation followed by serotype-specific rRT-PCR on selected samples, confirmed the presence of BTV serotypes 1, 2, 3, 5, 12 and 17. This is the first report of BTV-2 and BTV-5 in Trinidad. Light-suction traps placed in close proximity to the cattle predominantly trapped Culicoides insignis Lutz 1913 species (96%), with a further six Culicoides species making up the remaining 4% of trapped samples. The circulation of multiple BTV serotypes in Trinidad underlines the need for regular surveillance, which will contribute to the development of risk assessments for trade in livestock.


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