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

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Continuous cell lines from the ticks Amblyomma variegatum, Boophilus decoloratus, Boophilus microplus, Hyalomma anatolicum anatolicum, Ixodes scapularis, Ixodes ricinus and Rhipicephalus appendiculatus were tested for ability to support growth of the rickettsial pathogen Ehrlichia (previously Cowdria) ruminantium. Five E.ruminantium isolates, from West Africa, South Africa and the French West Indies, were used. Twelve tick cell lines were inoculated with E.ruminantium derived either from cultures of a bovine endothelial cell strain designated BPC or from other tick cell lines. Successful infection resulted in either continuous growth (in which the pathogen/cell line system could be perpetuated through regular subculture on fresh, uninfected cells for many months or years) or finite growth (in which the pathogen disappeared after one or a few subcultures). Infection with E.ruminantium from BPC was established in I. scapularis, I. ricinus and A. variegatum cell lines; E. ruminantium was transferred from these infected cell lines to B. decoloralus, B. microplus and R. appendiculatus cell lines. H. a. anatolicum cells could not be infected with E.ruminantium by any procedure. All five E.ruminantium isolates grew continuously in at least one tick cell line at temperatures between 28 degreesC and 37 degreesC; three of the isolates were successfully re-established in BPC following prolonged maintenance in tick cells. This study demonstrates that E.ruminantium is not intrinsically restricted to growth in cells from ticks of the natural vector genus Amblyomma.
Mackay D, Parida S, Paton D, Anderson J, Schudel A, Lombard M (2004)

Making a vaccinate-to-live policy a reality in foot-and-mouth disease

Developments in Biologicals 119, 261-266


Public opinion and the availability of new technologies are making the use of 'stamping- out' an increasingly unattractive option as the method of first choice for foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) control in FMD-free countries or zones seeking to control incursion of disease. There is therefore increasing pressure to adopt a 'vaccinate-to-live' policy in these circumstances. For a successful vaccinate-to-live policy, veterinary services need access to appropriate, licensed vaccines; to have adequate contingency plans to ensure that they can deliver the required vaccine, where and when it is needed; and to have developed an 'exit strategy' that enables recognition of freedom from disease as quickly as possible. This paper discusses progress towards these requirements and the problems that still need to be addressed before a vaccinate-to-live policy can become the option of first resort.

Harte M T, Haga I R, Maloney G, Gray P, Reading P C, Bartlett N W, Smith G L, Bowie A, O'Neill L A J (2003)

The poxvirus protein A52R targets Toll-like receptor signaling complexes to suppress host defense

Journal of Experimental Medicine 197 (3), 343-351


Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are crucial in the innate immune response to pathogens, in that they recognize and respond to pathogen associated molecular patterns, which leads to activation of intracellular signaling pathways and altered gene expression. Vaccinia virus (VV), the poxvirus used to vaccinate against smallpox, encodes proteins that antagonize important components of host antiviral defense. Here we show that the VV protein A52R blocks the activation of the transcription factor nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) by multiple TLRs, including TLR3, a recently identified receptor for viral RNA. A52R associates with both interleukin 1 receptor-associated kinase 2 (IRAK2) and tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 6 (TRAF6), two key proteins important in TLR signal transduction. Further, A52R could disrupt signaling complexes containing these proteins. A virus deletion mutant lacking the A52R gene was attenuated compared with wild-type and revertant controls in a murine intranasal model of infection. This study reveals a novel mechanism used by VV to suppress the host immunity. We demonstrate viral disabling of TLRs, providing further evidence for an important role for this family of receptors in the antiviral response.

Stanton T, Boxall S, Hirai K, Dawes R, Tonks S, Yasui T, Kanaoka Y, Yuldasheva N, Ishiko O, Bodmer W, Beverley P C L, Tchilian E Z (2003)

A high-frequency polymorphism in exon 6 of the CD45 tyrosine phosphatase gene (PTPRC) resulting in altered isoform expression

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 100 (10), 5997-6002


CD45 (leukocyte common) antigen is a hemopoietic cell-specific tyrosine phosphatase essential for antigen receptor-mediated signaling in lymphocytes. The molecule undergoes complex alternative splicing in the extracellular domain, and different patterns of CD45 splicing are associated with distinct functions. Lack of CD45 leads to severe combined immunodeficiency, and alterations of CD45 splicing, because of a polymorphism in exon 4, have been associated with altered immune function. Here we describe a polymorphism in exon 6 (A138G) of the gene encoding CD45 that interferes with alternative splicing. The polymorphism results in an amino acid substitution of Thr-47 to Ala in exon 6, a potential O- and N-linked glycosylation site. This exon 6 A138G variant is present at a frequency of 23.7% in the Japanese population but is absent in Caucasoids. Peripheral blood T cells from individuals carrying the A138G variant show a significant decrease in the proportion of cells expressing the A, B, and C CD45 isoforms and a high frequency of CD45R0+ cells. These phenotypic alterations in the A138G carriers may lead to changes in ligand binding, homodimerization of CD45, and altered immune responses, suggesting the involvement of natural selection in controlling the A138G carrier frequency.


A polyclonal competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (PC-ELISA) is described for detection of antibodies to Ehrlichia (Cowdria) ruminantium by using a soluble extract of endothelial cell culture-derived E. ruminantium as the antigen and biotin-labeled polyclonal goat immunoglobulins as the competitor. For goats, the diagnostic sensitivity and specificity were both 100% with a cutoff of 80% inhibition (80 PI), with detection of antibodies for 550 days postinfection. For cattle, diagnostic sensitivity and specificity were 86 and 100%, respectively, with a cutoff of 50 PI and 79 and 100% with a cutoff of 70 PI. Cross-reactions with high-titer experimental or field antisera to other Ehrlichia and Anaplasma species were observed at up to 68 PI in cattle and up to 85 PI in sheep, and therefore to exclude these cross-reactions, cutoffs of 70 PI for bovine serology and 85 PI for small-ruminant serology were selected. Application of the PC-ELISA to bovine field sera from South Africa gave a higher proportion of positive results than application of the murine macrophage immunofluorescent antibody test or indirect ELISA, suggesting a better sensitivity for detection of recovered cattle, and results with bovine field sera from Malawi were consistent with the observed endemic state of heartwater and the level of tick control practiced at the sample sites. Reproducibility was high, with average standard deviations intraplate of 1.2 PI and interplate of 0.6 PI. The test format is simple, and the test is economical to perform and has a level of sensitivity for detection of low-titer positive bovine sera that may prove to be of value in epidemiological studies on heartwater.
Tuthill T J, Papadopoulos N G, Jourdan P, Challinor L J, Sharp N A, Plumpton C, Shah K, Barnard S, Dash L, Burnet J, Killington R A, Rowlands D J, Clarke N J, Blair E D, Johnston S L (2003)

Mouse respiratory epithelial cells support efficient replication of human rhinovirus

Journal of General Virology 84 (Pt 10), 2829-36


Human rhinoviruses (HRV) are responsible for the majority of virus infections of the upper respiratory tract. Furthermore, HRV infection is associated with acute exacerbation of asthma and other chronic respiratory diseases of the lower respiratory tract. A small animal model of HRV-induced disease is required for the development of new therapies. However, existing mouse models of HRV infection are difficult to work with and until recently mouse cell lines were thought to be generally non-permissive for HRV replication in vitro. In this report we demonstrate that a virus of the minor receptor group, HRV1B, can infect and replicate in a mouse respiratory epithelial cell line (LA-4) more efficiently than in a mouse fibroblast cell line (L). The major receptor group virus HRV16 requires human intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) for cell entry and therefore cannot infect LA-4 cells. However, transfection of in vitro-transcribed HRV16 RNA resulted in the replication of viral RNA and production of infectious virus. Expression of a chimeric ICAM-1 molecule, comprising mouse ICAM-1 with extracellular domains 1 and 2 replaced by the equivalent human domains, rendered the otherwise non-permissive mouse respiratory epithelial cell line susceptible to entry and efficient replication of HRV16. These observations suggest that the development of mouse models of respiratory tract infection by major as well as minor group HRV should be pursued.


Various pathogens have been shown to infect antigen-presenting cells and affect their capacity to interact with and stimulate T-cell responses. We have used an antigenically identical pair of noncytopathic (ncp) and cytopathic (cp) bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVDV) isolates to determine how the two biotypes affect monocyte and dendritic cell (DC) function. We have shown that monocytes and DCs are both susceptible to infection with ncp BVDV and cp BVDV in vitro. In addition, monocytes infected with ncp BVDV were compromised in their ability to stimulate allogeneic and memory CD4(+) T cell responses, but DCs were not affected. This was not due to down-regulation of a number of recognized co-stimulatory molecules including CD80, CD86 and CD40. Striking differences in the response of the two cell types to infection with cytopathic virus were seen. Dendritic cells were not susceptible to the cytopathic effect caused by cp BVDV, whereas monocytes were killed. Analysis of interferon (IFN)-alpha/beta production showed similar levels in monocytes and DCs exposed to cp BVDV, but none was detected in cells exposed to ncp BVDV. We conclude that the prevention of cell death in DCs is not associated with enhanced production of IFN-alpha/beta, as proposed for influenza virus, but is by a distinct mechanism.


The immune response can be divided into innate and adaptive components that synergise to effect the clearance of pathogens. Recently, it has been realised that these arms of the immune system do not act independently, the magnitude and quality of the adaptive response is dependent on signals derived from the innate response. Here, we review the innate immune responses to bovine viral diarrhoea virus infections of cattle and relate these changes to immunosuppression and the subsequent development of the adaptive immune response.
Nunez A, McNeilly F, Perea A, Sanchez-Cordon P J, Huerta B, Allan G, Carrasco L (2003)

Coinfection by Cryptosporidium parvum and porcine circovirus type 2 in weaned pigs

Journal of Veterinary Medicine Series B-Infectious Diseases and Veterinary Public Health 50 (5), 255-258


Routine histopathological diagnosis of one representative 3-month-old pig from a group suffering from diarrhoea revealed a massive degree of parasitation by Cryptosporidium parvum , with a concomitant infection by porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2), that was confirmed by immunohistochemical procedures. The areas of intestine where parasites were more numerous presented abundant PCV2 infected cells in mucosa and submucosa. The concurrence of C. parvum , a rare primary intestinal pathogen in post-weaning and growing pigs, and PCV2 infections suggest an increased susceptibility as a result of an immunosuppression state.


Eleven cases of thrombocytopenic purpura (TP) in sexually mature male or female Gottingen minipigs occurred sporadically over 3 1/2 years in a closed breeding colony protected by strict barrier conditions. Typical clinical signs of TP, including extensive subcutaneous haemorrhages, were seen in all affected animals. Haematological abnormalities included marked thrombocytopenia and anaemia. A consistent histopathological finding was the presence of membranoproliferative lesions in the renal glomeruli. Immunohistochemically, glomerular deposits were positively labelled for complement factor C1q and often also for immunoglobulins. Bone marrow findings consisting of increased numbers of immature and apoptotic megakaryocytcs were compatible with a state of increased platelet consumption. Based on the combined presence of thrombocytopenia and renal immune complexes, it is suggested that the syndrome was related to a type III hypersensitivity reaction. However, further studies are needed to verify this hypothesis.


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