Publications

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

There were a total of 2240 results for your search.
Lean F Z X, Nunez A, Spiro S, Priestnall S L, Vreman S, Bailey D, James J, Wrigglesworth E, Suarez-Bonnet A, Conceicao C, Thakur N, Byrne A M P, Ackroyd S, Delahay R J, van der Poel W H M, Brown I H, Fooks A R, Brookes S M (2021)

Differential susceptibility of SARS-CoV-2 in animals: Evidence of ACE2 host receptor distribution in companion animals, livestock and wildlife by immunohistochemical characterisation

Transboundary and Emerging Diseases early view
Publisher’s version: https://doi.org/10.1111/tbed.14232

Abstract

Angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is a host cell membrane protein (receptor) that mediates the binding of coronavirus, most notably SARS coronaviruses in the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. Although SARS-CoV-2 infection is mainly confined to humans, there have been numerous incidents of spillback (reverse zoonoses) to domestic and captive animals. An absence of information on the spatial distribution of ACE2 in animal tissues limits our understanding on host species susceptibility. Here we describe the distribution of ACE2 using immunohistochemistry (IHC) on histological sections derived from carnivores, ungulates, primates and chiroptera. Comparison of mink (Neovison vison) and ferret (Mustela putorius furo) respiratory tracts showed substantial differences, demonstrating that ACE2 is present in the lower respiratory tract of mink but not ferrets. The presence of ACE2 in the respiratory tract in some species was much more restricted evident by limited immunolabelling in the nasal turbinate, trachea and lungs of cats (Felis catus) and only the nasal turbinate in the golden Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus). In the lungs of other species, ACE2 could be detected on the bronchiolar epithelium of the sheep (Ovis aries), cattle (Bos taurus), European badger (Meles meles), cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), tiger and lion (Panthera spp.). In addition, ACE2 was present in the nasal mucosa epithelium of the serotine bat (Eptesicus serotinus) but not in pig (Sus scrofa domestica), cattle or sheep. In the intestine, ACE2 immunolabelling was seen on the microvillus of enterocytes (surface of intestine) across various taxa. These results provide anatomical evidence of ACE2 expression in a number of species which will enable further understanding of host susceptibility and tissue tropism of ACE2 receptor-mediated viral infection.

Abstract

Improving the immunogenicity and protective efficacy of vaccines is critical to reducing disease impacts. One strategy used to enhance the immunogenicity of vaccines is the selective delivery of protective antigens to the antigen presenting cells (APCs). In this study, we have developed a targeted antigen delivery vaccine (TADV) system by recombinantly fusing the ectodomain of hemagglutinin (HA) antigen of H9N2 influenza A virus to single chain fragment variable (scFv) antibodies specific for the receptors expressed on chicken APCs; Dec205 and CD11c. Vaccination of chickens with TADV containing recombinant H9HA Foldon-Dec205 scFv or H9HA Foldon-CD11c scFv proteins elicited faster (as early as day 6 post primary vaccination) and higher anti-H9HA IgM and IgY, haemagglutination inhibition, and virus neutralisation antibodies compared to the untargeted H9HA protein. Comparatively, CD11c scFv conjugated H9HA protein showed higher immunogenic potency compared to Dec205 scFv conjugated H9HA protein. The higher immune potentiating ability of CD11c scFv was also reflected in ex-vivo chicken splenocyte stimulation assay, whereby H9HA Foldon-CD11c scFv induced higher levels of cytokines (IFNγ, IL6, IL1β, and IL4) compared to H9HA Foldon-Dec205 scFv. Overall, the results conclude that TADV could be a better alternative to the currently available inactivated virus vaccines.

Abstract

Advances in the epidemiological tracing of pathogen transmission have been largely driven by the increasing characterisation of whole-genome sequence data obtained at a finer resolution from infectious disease outbreaks. Dynamic models that integrate genomic and epidemiological data further enhance inference on the evolutionary history and transmission dynamics of epidemic outbreaks by reconstructing the network of of ‘who-infected-whom’. Swine Vesicular Disease (SVD) was present in Italy from 1966 until 2015, and since the mid-1990s, it has mainly been circulating within Italy's central-southern regions with sporadic incursions to the north of the country. However, a recrudescence of SVD in northern Italy was recorded between November 2006 and October 2007, leading to a large-scale epidemic that significantly affected the intensive pig industry of the Lombardy region. In this study, by using whole-genome sequence data in combination with epidemiological information on disease occurrences, we report a retrospective epidemiological investigation of the 2006-2007 SVD epidemic, providing new insights into the transmission dynamics and evolutionary mode of the two phases that characterised the epidemic event. Our analyses support evidence of undetected premises likely missed in the chain of observed infections, of which the role as the link between the two phases is reinforced by the tempo of SVD virus evolution. These silent transmissions, likely resulting from the gradual loss of a clear SVD clinical manifestation linked to sub-clinical infections, may pose a risk of failure in the early detection of new cases. This study emphasises the power of joint inference schemes based on genomic and epidemiological data integration to inform the transmission dynamics of disease epidemics, ultimately aimed at better disease control.

Franzoni G, Anfossi A, De Ciucis C G, Mecocci S, Carta T, Dei Giudici S, Fruscione F, Zinellu S, Vito G, Graham S P, Oggiano A, Chessa B, Razzuoli E (2021)

Targeting Toll-like receptor 2: polarization of porcine macrophages by a mycoplasma-derived Pam2Cys lipopeptide

Vaccines 9 (7), 692

Abstract

Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) ligands are attracting increasing attention as prophylactic and immunotherapeutic agents against pathogens and tumors. We previously observed that a synthetic diacylated lipopeptide based on a surface protein of Mycoplasma agalactiae (Mag-Pam2Cys) strongly activated innate immune cells, including porcine monocyte-derived macrophages (moMΦ). In this study, we utilized confocal microscopy, flow cytometry, multiplex cytokine ELISA, and RT-qPCR to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the effects of scalar doses of Mag-Pam2Cys on porcine moMΦ. We observed enhanced expression of activation markers (MHC class I, MHC class II DR, CD25), increased phagocytotic activity, and release of IL-12 and proinflammatory cytokines. Mag-Pam2Cys also upregulated the gene expression of several IFN-α subtypes, p65, NOS2, and molecules with antimicrobial activities (CD14, beta defensin 1). Overall, our data showed that Mag-Pam2Cys polarized porcine macrophages towards a proinflammatory antimicrobial phenotype. However, Mag-Pam2Cys downregulated the expression of IFN-α3, six TLRs (TLR3, -4, -5, -7, -8, -9), and did not interfere with macrophage polarization induced by the immunosuppressive IL-10, suggesting that the inflammatory activity evoked by Mag-Pam2Cys could be regulated to avoid potentially harmful consequences. We hope that our in vitro results will lay the foundation for the further evaluation of this diacylated lipopeptide as an immunopotentiator in vivo.

Abstract

The understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms and the clinicopathological forms caused by currently circulating African swine fever virus (ASFV) isolates is incomplete. So far, most of the studies have been focused on isolates classified within genotypes I and II, the only genotypes that have circulated outside of Africa. However, less is known about the clinical presentations and lesions induced by isolates belonging to the other twenty-two genotypes. Therefore, the early clinicopathological identification of disease outbreaks caused by isolates belonging to, as yet, not well-characterised ASFV genotypes may be compromised, which might cause a delay in the implementation of control measures to halt the virus spread. To improve the pathological characterisation of disease caused by diverse isolates, we have refined the macroscopic and histopathological evaluation protocols to standardise the scoring of lesions. Domestic pigs were inoculated intranasally with different doses (high, medium and low) of ASFV isolate Ken05/Tk1 (genotype X). To complement previous studies, the distribution and severity of macroscopic and histopathological lesions, along with the amount and distribution of viral antigen in tissues, were characterised by applying the new scoring protocols. The intranasal inoculation of domestic pigs with high doses of the Ken05/Tk1 isolate induced acute forms of ASF in most of the animals. Inoculation with medium doses mainly induced acute forms of disease. A less severe but longer clinical course, typical of subacute forms, characterised by the presence of more widespread and severe haemorrhages and oedema, was observed in one pig inoculated with the medium dose. The severity of vascular lesions (haemorrhages and oedema) induced by high and medium doses was not associated with the amount of virus antigen detected in tissues, therefore these might be attributed to indirect mechanisms not evaluated in the present study. The absence of clinical signs, lesions and detectable levels of virus genome or antigen in blood from the animals inoculated with the lowest dose ruled out the existence of possible asymptomatic carriers or persistently infected pigs, at least for the 21 days period of the study. The results corroborate the moderate virulence of the Ken05/Tk1 isolate, as well as its capacity to induce both the acute and, occasionally, subacute forms of ASF when high and medium doses were administered intranasally.

Paton D J, Di Nardo A, Knowles N J, Wadsworth J, Pituco E M, Cosivi O, Rivera A M, Kassimi L B, Brocchi E, de Clercq K, Carrillo C, Maree F F, Singh R K, Vosloo W, Park M-K, Sumption K J, Ludi A B, King D P (2021)

The history of foot-and-mouth disease virus serotype C: the first known extinct serotype?

Virus Evolution 7 (1), veab009
Publisher’s version: https://doi.org/10.1093/ve/veab009

Abstract

Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a highly contagious animal disease caused by an RNA virus subdivided into seven serotypes that are unevenly distributed in Asia, Africa, and South America. Despite the challenges of controlling FMD, since 1996 there have been only two outbreaks attributed to serotype C, in Brazil and in Kenya, in 2004. This article describes the historical distribution and origins of serotype C and its disappearance. The serotype was first described in Europe in the 1920s, where it mainly affected pigs and cattle but as a less common cause of outbreaks than serotypes O and A. No serotype C outbreaks have been reported in Europe since vaccination stopped in 1990. FMD virus is presumed to have been introduced into South America from Europe in the nineteenth century, although whether serotype C evolved there or in Europe is not known. As in Europe, this serotype was less widely distributed and caused fewer outbreaks than serotypes O and A. Since 1994, serotype C had not been reported from South America until four small outbreaks were detected in the Amazon region in 2004. Elsewhere, serotype C was introduced to Asia, in the 1950s to the 1970s, persisting and evolving for several decades in the Indian subcontinent and for eighteen years in the Philippines. Serotype C virus also circulated in East Africa between 1957 and 2004. Many serotype C viruses from European and Kenyan outbreaks were closely related to vaccine strains, including the most recently recovered Kenyan isolate from 2004. International surveillance has not confirmed any serotype C cases, worldwide, for over 15?years, despite more than 2,000 clinical submissions per year to reference laboratories. Serology provides limited evidence for absence of this serotype, as unequivocal interpretation is hampered by incomplete intra-serotype specificity of immunoassays and the continued use of this serotype in vaccines. It is recommended to continue strengthening surveillance in regions of FMD endemicity, to stop vaccination against serotype C and to reduce working with the virus in laboratories, since inadvertent escape of virus during such activities is now the biggest risk for its reappearance in the field.

Abstract

The incursion of African swine fever virus (ASFV) into Eurasia presents a threat to the world’s swine industry. Highly sensitive and specific diagnostic assays are urgently needed for rapid detection during an outbreak, post-outbreak investigation, and disease surveillance. In this study, a highly specific and repeatable blocking ELISA (bELISA) was developed using a recombinant p30 protein as the antigen combined with biotinylated mAb against p30 as the detection antibody. Initial test validation included sera from 810 uninfected animals and 106 animals experimentally inoculated with ASFV or recombinant alphavirus/adenovirus expressing p30. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis of the data calculated an optimal percentage of inhibition (PI) cutoff value of 45.92%, giving a diagnostic sensitivity of 98.11% and diagnostic specificity of 99.42%. The coefficient of variation of an internal quality control serum was 6.81% for between runs, 6.71% for within run, and 6.14% for within plate. A time course study of infected pigs showed that bELISA was able to detect seroconversion as early as 7 days post-inoculation. Taken together, these results demonstrate that bELISA can be used as an alternative serological test for detecting ASFV infection.

Abstract

Since the initial use of vaccination in the eighteenth century, our understanding of human and animal immunology has greatly advanced and a wide range of vaccine technologies and delivery systems have been developed. The COVID-19 pandemic response leveraged these innovations to enable rapid development of candidate vaccines within weeks of the viral genetic sequence being made available. The development of vaccines to tackle emerging infectious diseases is a priority for the World Health Organization and other global entities. More than 70% of emerging infectious diseases are acquired from animals, with some causing illness and death in both humans and the respective animal host. Yet the study of critical host-pathogen interactions and the underlying immune mechanisms to inform the development of vaccines for their control is traditionally done in medical and veterinary immunology 'silos'. In this Perspective, we highlight a 'One Health vaccinology' approach and discuss some key areas of synergy in human and veterinary vaccinology that could be exploited to accelerate the development of effective vaccines against these shared health threats.

Vergne T, Gubbins S, Guinat C, Bauzile B, Delpont M, Chakraborty D, Gruson H, Roche B, Andraud M, Paul M, Guerin J-L (2021)

Inferring within-flock transmission dynamics of highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N8) in France, 2020.

Transboundary and Emerging Diseases early view
Publisher’s version: https://doi.org/10.1111/tbed.14202

Abstract

Following the emergence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (H5N8) in France in early December 2020, we used duck mortality data from the index farm to investigate within-flock transmission dynamics. A stochastic epidemic model was fitted to the daily mortality data and model parameters were estimated using an approximate Bayesian computation sequential Monte Carlo (ABC-SMC) algorithm. The model predicted that the first bird in the flock was infected 5 days (95% credible interval, CI: 3–6) prior to the day of suspicion and that the transmission rate was 4.1 new infections per day (95% CI: 2.8–5.8). On average, ducks became infectious 4.1 hours (95% CI: 0.7–9.1) after infection and remained infectious for 4.3 days (95% CI: 2.8–5.7). The model also predicted that 34% (50% prediction interval: 8%–76%) of birds would already be infectious by the day of suspicion, emphasising the substantial latent threat this virus could pose to other poultry farms and to neighbouring wild birds. This study illustrates how mechanistic models can help provide rapid relevant insights that contribute to the management of infectious disease outbreaks of farmed animals. These methods can be applied to future outbreaks and the resulting parameter estimates made available to veterinary services within a few hours.

Abstract

Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) vaccine efficacy is mainly determined by the content of intact virions (146S) and empty capsids (75S). Both particles may dissociate into 12S subunits upon vaccine manufacturing, formulation, and storage, reducing vaccine potency. We report the isolation of capsid-specific llama single-domain antibodies (VHHs) with broad strain recognition that can be used to quantify intact capsids in FMD vaccines by double antibody sandwich (DAS) ELISA. One capsid-specific VHH displayed remarkably broad strain reactivity, recognizing 14 strains representing the 13 most important lineages of serotype A, and two VHHs cross-reacted with other serotypes. We additionally show that the newly isolated VHHs, as well as previously characterized VHHs, can be used to identify antigenic differences between authentic 146S and 75S capsids, as well as corresponding genetically engineered virus-like particles (VLPs). Our work underscores that VHHs are excellent tools for monitoring the quantity and stability of intact capsids during vaccine manufacturing, formulation, and storage, and additionally shows that VHHs can be used to predict the native-like structure of VLPs.

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