The complement system is a critical component of the innate immune response that all animal viruses encounter during natural infections. While it is clear that complement (C') is an important factor in neutralization of many RNA viruses, very few mechanistic details are known about how C'regulates paramyxovirus infections and pathology in the respiratory tract. Here, we seek to fill gaps in understanding of interactions of complement (C') with the paramyxoviruses Simian Virus 5 (SV5), Mumps virus (MuV) and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). This project emerged from recent findings that: 1) C'plays an essential role in neutralization of both SV5 and MuV, 2) SV5 and RSV induce expression of cellular Regulators of Complement Activation (RCA) and some RCAs are incorporated into SV5, MuV and RSV virions, and 3) SV5 growth is enhanced in lungs of C'-depleted mice, but growth in the nasal tissue is not affected. Our long term goal is to understand the cellular and viral factors that dictate the outcome of interactions of paramyxoviruses with C'in the respiratory tract of infected animals.
Aim 1 will determine the mechanism of incorporation of RCAs into SV5, MuV and RSV virions and the role of virion-associated RCAs in neutralization and pathology in vivo. This will involve the use of an innovative EM approach, VLPs, and novel viruses that overexpress RCAs. Work in Aim 2 will define the mechanisms by which SV5, MuV and RSV differentially upregulate RCA expression and how infected cells are spared from lysis. Our results show that SV5 growth is enhanced in the lung but not the nasal tissue of C'-depleted mice.
In Aim 3 we will use genetically deficient mice to distinguish between a direct role for C'in SV5 and RSV neutralization versus a role for C'in differential recruitment of immune cells to tissues. New concepts that have emerged from our work address the questions of: 1) how individual RCAs contribute to viral clearance and pathogenesis in the respiratory tract, 2) what signals direct RCA incorporation into budding particles, 3) what signaling pathways are exploited by paramyxoviruses to make cells resistant to C'-mediated lysis, and 4) what mechanisms dictate differential roles for C'in limiting viral load in the lung but not in the nasal tissue of infected animals. Addressing these concepts will have a significant impact on our understanding of this understudied area of innate immunity to viruses.

Public Health Relevance

There is intense interest in mechanisms that modulate the interplay between viruses and the host innate immune system, but the mechanistic details on the role of complement in neutralization of respiratory tract viruses are not known. Our work will have important impact on control of human pathogens such as MuV and RSV. Insights into paramyxovirus inhibition of complement will have implications for pathogenesis, vaccine development, and persistent infections that are refractory to recognition by host immune systems.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-IDM-R (03))
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Cassetti, Cristina
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Wake Forest University Health Sciences
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Li, Yujia; Johnson, John B; Parks, Griffith D (2016) Parainfluenza virus 5 upregulates CD55 expression to produce virions with enhanced resistance to complement-mediated neutralization. Virology 497:305-313
Johnson, John B; Borisevich, Viktoriya; Rockx, Barry et al. (2015) A novel factor I activity in Nipah virus inhibits human complement pathways through cleavage of C3b. J Virol 89:989-98
Mayer, Anne E; Parks, Griffith D (2014) An AGM model for changes in complement during pregnancy: neutralization of influenza virus by serum is diminished in late third trimester. PLoS One 9:e112749
Mayer, Anne E; Johnson, John B; Parks, Griffith D (2014) The neutralizing capacity of antibodies elicited by parainfluenza virus infection of African Green Monkeys is dependent on complement. Virology 460-461:23-33
Parks, Griffith D; Alexander-Miller, Martha A (2013) Paramyxovirus activation and inhibition of innate immune responses. J Mol Biol 425:4872-92
Johnson, John B; Schmitt, Anthony P; Parks, Griffith D (2013) Point mutations in the paramyxovirus F protein that enhance fusion activity shift the mechanism of complement-mediated virus neutralization. J Virol 87:9250-9
Biswas, Moanaro; Johnson, John B; Kumar, Sandeep R P et al. (2012) Incorporation of host complement regulatory proteins into Newcastle disease virus enhances complement evasion. J Virol 86:12708-16
Johnson, John B; Lyles, Douglas S; Alexander-Miller, Martha A et al. (2012) Virion-associated complement regulator CD55 is more potent than CD46 in mediating resistance of mumps virus and vesicular stomatitis virus to neutralization. J Virol 86:9929-40