Publications

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

There were a total of 2632 results for your search.

Abstract

Modern phylogeography aims at reconstructing the geographic movement of organisms based on their genomic sequences and spatial information. Phylogeographic approaches are often applied to pathogen sequences and therefore tend to neglect the possibility of recombination, which decouples the evolutionary and geographic histories of different parts of the genome. Genomic regions of recombining or reassorting pathogens often originate and evolve at different times and locations, which characterize their unique spatial histories. Measuring the extent of these differences requires new methods to compare geographic information on phylogenetic trees reconstructed from different parts of the genome. Here we develop for the first time a set of measures of phylogeographic incompatibility, aimed at detecting differences between geographical histories in terms of distances between phylogeographies. We study the effect of varying demography and recombination on phylogeographic incompatibilities using coalescent simulations. We further apply these measures to the evolutionary history of human and livestock pathogens, either reassorting or recombining, such as the Victoria and Yamagata lineages of influenza B and the O/Ind-2001 foot-and-mouth disease virus strain. Our results reveal diverse geographical paths of migration that characterize the origins and evolutionary histories of different viral genes and genomic segments. These incompatibility measures can be applied to any phylogeography, and more generally to any phylogeny where each tip has been assigned either a continuous or discrete "trait" independent of the sequence. We illustrate this flexibility with an analysis of the interplay between the phylogeography and phylolinguistics of Uralic-speaking human populations, hinting at patrilinear language transmission.

Abstract

Since the reintroduction of African swine fever virus (ASFV) in Europe in 2007 and its subsequent spread to Asia, wild boar has played a crucial role in maintaining and disseminating the virus. There are significant gaps in the knowledge regarding infection dynamics and disease pathogenesis in domestic pigs and wild boar, particularly at the early infection stage. We aimed to compare domestic pigs and wild boar infected intranasally to mimic natural infection with one of the original highly virulent genotype II ASFV isolates (Armenia 2007). The study involved euthanising three domestic pigs and three wild boar on days 1, 2, 3, and 5 post-infection, while four domestic pigs and four wild boar were monitored until they reached a humane endpoint. The parameters assessed included clinical signs, macroscopic lesions, viremia levels, tissue viral load, and virus shedding in nasal and rectal swabs from day 1 post-infection. Compared with domestic pigs, wild boar were more susceptible to ASFV, with a shorter incubation period and earlier onset of clinical signs. While wild boar reached a humane endpoint earlier than domestic pigs did, the macroscopic lesions were comparatively less severe. In addition, wild boar had earlier viremia, and the virus was also detected earlier in tissues. The medial retropharyngeal lymph nodes were identified as key portals for ASFV infection in both subspecies. No viral genome was detected in nasal or rectal swabs until shortly before reaching the humane endpoint in both domestic pigs and wild boar, suggesting limited virus shedding in acute infections.

Abstract

The third complementary-determining regions of the heavy-chain (CDR3H) variable regions (VH) of some cattle antibodies are highly extended, consisting of 48 or more residues. These `ultralong' CDR3Hs form β-ribbon stalks that protrude from the surface of the antibody with a disulfide cross-linked knob region at their apex that dominates antigen interactions over the other CDR loops. The structure of the Fab fragment of a naturally paired bovine ultralong antibody (D08), identified by single B-cell sequencing, has been determined to 1.6 Å resolution. By swapping the D08 native light chain with that of an unrelated antigen-unknown ultralong antibody, it is shown that interactions between the CDR3s of the variable domains potentially affect the fine positioning of the ultralong CDR3H; however, comparison with other crystallographic structures shows that crystalline packing is also a major contributor. It is concluded that, on balance, the exact positioning of ultralong CDR3H loops is most likely to be due to the constraints of crystal packing.

Abstract

African swine fever virus causes a lethal hemorrhagic disease in domestic swine and wild boar for which currently licensed commercial vaccines are only available in Vietnam. Development of subunit vaccines is complicated by the lack of information on protective antigens as well as suitable delivery systems. Our previous work showed that a pool of eight African swine fever virus genes vectored using an adenovirus prime and modified vaccinia virus boost could prevent fatal disease after challenge with a virulent genotype I isolate of the virus. Here, we identify antigens within this pool of eight that are essential for the observed protection and demonstrate that adenovirus-prime followed by adenovirus-boost can also induce protective immune responses against genotype I African swine fever virus. Immunization with a pool of adenoviruses expressing individual African swine fever virus genes partially tailored to genotype II virus did not protect against challenge with genotype II Georgia 2007/1 strain, suggesting that different antigens may be required to induce cross-protection for genetically distinct viruses.

Edmans MD, Connelley TK, Morgan S, Pediongco TJ, Jayaraman S, Juno JA, Meehan BS, Dewar PM, Maze EA, Roos EO, Paudyal B, Mak JYW, Liu L, Fairlie DP, Wang H, Corbett AJ, McCluskey J, Benedictus L, Tchilian E, Klenerman P, Eckle SBG (2024)

MAIT cell-MR1 reactivity is highly conserved across multiple divergent species

Journal of Biological Chemistry 300 (6)

Abstract

Mucosal-associated invariant T (MAIT) cells are a subset of unconventional T cells that recognize small molecule metabolites presented by major histocompatibility complex class I related protein 1 (MR1), via an αβ T cell receptor (TCR). MAIT TCRs feature an essentially invariant TCR α-chain, which is highly conserved between mammals. Similarly, MR1 is the most highly conserved major histocompatibility complex-I-like molecule. This extreme conservation, including the mode of interaction between the MAIT TCR and MR1, has been shown to allow for species-mismatched reactivities unique in T cell biology, thereby allowing the use of selected species-mismatched MR1-antigen (MR1-Ag) tetramers in comparative immunology studies. However, the pattern of cross-reactivity of species-mismatched MR1-Ag tetramers in identifying MAIT cells in diverse species has not been formally assessed. We developed novel cattle and pig MR1-Ag tetramers and utilized these alongside previously developed human, mouse, and pig-tailed macaque MR1-Ag tetramers to characterize cross-species tetramer reactivities. MR1-Ag tetramers from each species identified T cell populations in distantly related species with specificity that was comparable to species-matched MR1-Ag tetramers. However, there were subtle differences in staining characteristics with practical implications for the accurate identification of MAIT cells. Pig MR1 is sufficiently conserved across species that pig MR1-Ag tetramers identified MAIT cells from the other species. However, MAIT cells in pigs were at the limits of phenotypic detection. In the absence of sheep MR1-Ag tetramers, a MAIT cell population in sheep blood was identified phenotypically, utilizing species-mismatched MR1-Ag tetramers. Collectively, our results validate the use and define the limitations of species-mismatched MR1-Ag tetramers in comparative immunology studies.

Abstract

B2 haplotype major histocompatibility complex (MHC) has been extensively reported to confer resistance to various avian diseases. But its peptide-binding motif is unknown, and the presenting peptide is rarely identified. Here, we identified its peptide-binding motif (X-A/V/I/L/P/S/G-X-X-X-X-X-X-V/I/L) in vitro using Random Peptide Library-based MHC I LC-MS/MS analysis. To further clarify the structure basis of motif, we determined the crystal structure of the BF2∗02:01-PB2552-560 complex at 1.9 Å resolution. We found that BF2∗02:01 had a relatively wide antigen-binding groove, and the structural characterization of pockets was consistent with the characterization of peptide-binding motif. The wider features of the peptide-binding motif and increased number of peptides bound by BF2∗02:01 than BF2∗04:01 might resolve the puzzles for the presence of potential H9N2 resistance in B2 chickens. Afterward, we explored the H9N2 avian influenza virus (AIV)-induced cellular immune response in B2 haplotype chickens in vivo. We found that ratio of CD8+ T cell and kinetic expression of cytotoxicity genes including Granzyme K, interferon-γ, NK lysin, and poly-(ADP-ribose) polymerase in peripheral blood mononuclear cells were significantly increased in defending against H9N2 AIV infection. Especially, we selected 425 epitopes as candidate epitopes based on the peptide-binding motif and further identified four CD8+ T-cell epitopes on H9N2 AIV including NS198-106, PB2552-560, NP182-190, and NP455-463 via ELI-spot interferon-γ detections after stimulating memory lymphocytes with peptides. More importantly, these epitopes were found to be conserved in H7N9 AIV and H9N2 AIV. These findings provide direction for developing effective T cell epitope vaccines using well-conserved internal viral antigens in chickens.

Abstract

Despite the annual vaccination of livestock against foot and mouth disease (FMD) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), outbreaks of the disease continue to be reported. The effective control of field outbreaks by vaccination requires that the vaccines used are antigenically matched to circulating field FMD viruses. In this study, a vaccine matching analysis was performed using the two-dimensional virus neutralization test (VNT) for three field isolates belonging to the O/ME-SA/PanAsia-2/ANT-10 and O/ME-SA/SA-2018 lineages collected from different FMD outbreaks that occurred within the Abu Dhabi Emirate in 2021 affecting Arabian oryx (Oryx leucoryx), goat, and sheep. In addition, post-vaccination antibodies in sheep and goats were measured using solid-phase competitive ELISA (SPCE) for FMDV serotypes A and O at five months after a single vaccine dose and a further 28 days later after a second dose of the FMD vaccine. An analysis of vaccine matching revealed that five out of the six vaccine strains tested were antigenically matched to the UAE field isolates, with r1-values ranging between 0.32 and 0.75. These results suggest that the vaccine strains (O-3039 and O1 Manisa) included in the FMD vaccine used in the Abu Dhabi Emirate are likely to provide protection against outbreaks caused by the circulating O/ME-SA/PanAsia-2/ANT-10 and O/ME-SA/SA-2018 lineages. All critical residues at site 1 and site 3 of VP1 were conserved in all isolates, although an analysis of the VP1-encoding sequences revealed 14-16 amino acid substitutions compared to the sequence of the O1 Manisa vaccine strain. This study also reports on the results of post-vaccination monitoring where the immunization coverage rates against FMDV serotypes A and O were 47% and 69% five months after the first dose of the FMD vaccine, and they were increased to 81 and 88%, respectively, 28 days after the second dose of the vaccine. These results reinforce the importance of using a second booster dose to maximize the impact of vaccination. In conclusion, the vaccine strains currently used in Abu Dhabi are antigenically matched to circulating field isolates from two serotype O clades (O/ME-SA/PanAsia-2/ANT-10 sublineage and O/ME-SA/SA-2018 lineage). The bi-annual vaccination schedule for FMD in the Abu Dhabi Emirate has the potential to establish a sufficient herd immunity, especially when complemented by additional biosecurity measures for comprehensive FMD control. These findings are pivotal for the successful implementation of the region's vaccination-based FMD control policy, showing that high vaccination coverage and the wide-spread use of booster doses in susceptible herds is required to achieve a high level of FMDV-specific antibodies in vaccinated animals.

Abstract

Modern phylogeography aims at reconstructing the geographic movement of organisms based on their genomic sequences and spatial information. Phylogeographic approaches are often applied to pathogen sequences and therefore tend to neglect the possibility of recombination, which decouples the evolutionary and geographic histories of different parts of the genome. Genomic regions of recombining or reassorting pathogens often originate and evolve at different times and locations, which characterise their unique spatial histories. Measuring the extent of these differences requires new methods to compare geographic information on phylogenetic trees reconstructed from different parts of the genome. Here we develop for the first time a set of measures of phylogeographic incompatibility, aimed at detecting differences between geographical histories in terms of distances between phylogeographies. We study the effect of varying demography and recombination on phylogeographic incompatibilities using coalescent simulations. We further apply these measures to the evolutionary history of human and livestock pathogens, either reassorting or recombining, such as the Victoria and Yamagata lineages of influenza B and the O/Ind-2001 foot-and-mouth disease virus strain. Our results reveal diverse geographical paths of migration that characterise the origins and evolutionary histories of different viral genes and genomic segments. These incompatibility measures can be applied to any phylogeography, and more generally to any phylogeny where each tip has been assigned either a continuous or discrete "trait" independent of the sequence. We illustrate this flexibility with an analysis of the interplay between the phylogeography and phylolinguistics of Uralic-speaking human populations, hinting at patrilinear language transmission.

Abstract

In the past decade, research has demonstrated that viral miRNAs encoded by a number of viral genomes, particularly by most of the herpesvirus including Marek’s disease virus (MDV), play important regulatory roles in viral infection, replication, and regulation of tumorigenesis. As macrovesicles in cells, exosomes can deliver viral miRNAs and exert gene regulatory functions. Whether the exosomes play a role in the replication, pathogenesis/tumorigenesis of avian herpesviruses such as oncogenic Marek’s disease virus (MDV) remains unclear. Herein we extracted and identified the exosomes from MDV-transformed T cell line MSB-1 and demonstrated high abundance of MDV-1 miRNA expression. Using dual luciferase-based reporter assay, we also demonstrated that the exosomes derived from MSB-1 can deliver functional miRNA successfully into primary chicken embryo fibroblasts. These findings provide new insights into the role of exosomes and the mechanisms of how virus-encoded miRNA function in MDV latency/activation switching, viral replication, pathogenesis and/or tumorigenesis.

Abstract

Importance: Although the role of bovine coronavirus (BCoV) in calf diarrhea and respiratory disorders is well documented, its contribution to neurological diseases is unclear.

Objective: This study conducted virological investigations of calves showing diarrhea and respiratory and neurological signs.

Methods: An outbreak of diarrhea, respiratory, and neurological disorders occurred among the 12 calves in July 2022 in Istanbul, Türkiye. Two of these calves exhibited neurological signs and died a few days after the appearance of symptoms. One of these calves was necropsied and analyzed using molecular and histopathological tests.

Results: BCoV RNA was detected in the brain, lung, spleen, liver, and intestine of the calf that had neurological signs by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Immunostaining was also observed in the intestine and brain. A 622 bp S1 gene product was noted on gel electrophoresis only in the brain. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that the BCoV detected in this study had a high proximity to the BCoV strain GIb with 99.19% nucleotide sequence homology to the strains detected in Poland, Israel, Türkiye, and France. No distinct genetic lineages were observed when the brain isolate was compared with the respiratory and enteric strains reported to GenBank. In addition, the highest identity (98,72%) was obtained with the HECV 4408 and L07748 strains of human coronaviruses.

Conclusions and relevance: The strain detected in a calf brain belongs to the GIb-European lineage and shares high sequence homology with BCoV strains detected in Europe and Israel. In addition, the similarity between the human coronaviruses (4408 and L07748) raises questions about the zoonotic potential of the strains detected in this study.

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