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A sensitive luminescence syncytium induction assay (LuSIA) based on a reporter plasmid containing a mutation in the glucocorticoid response element in the long terminal repeat U3 region of bovine leukemia virus

Sato, Hirotaka, Watanuki, Sonoko, Bai, Lanlan, Borjigin, Liushiqi, Ishizaki, Hiroshi, Matsumoto, Yasunobu, Hachiya, Yuma, Sentsui, Hiroshi, Aida, Yoko
Virology journal 2019 v.16 no.1 pp. 66
Bovine foamy virus, Bovine leukemia virus, cell lines, coculture, cows, enzootic bovine leukosis, gene expression, giant cells, glucocorticoids, green fluorescent protein, leukocytes, luminescence, neutralizing antibodies, pathogenicity, plasmids, reporter genes, site-directed mutagenesis, terminal repeat sequences, viruses
BACKGROUND: Bovine leukemia virus (BLV) causes enzootic bovine leukosis, the most common neoplastic disease of cattle. Previously, we reported the luminescence syncytium induction assay (LuSIA), an assay for BLV infectivity based on CC81-BLU3G cells, which form syncytia expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) when co-cultured with BLV-infected cells. To develop a more sensitive LuSIA, we here focused on the glucocorticoid response element (GRE) within the U3 region of the BLV long terminal repeat (LTR). METHODS: We changed five nucleotide sites of the GRE in a pBLU3-EGFP reporter plasmid containing the BLV-LTR U3 region promoter by site-directed mutagenesis and we then constructed a new reporter plasmid (pBLU3GREM-EGFP) in which the EGFP reporter gene was expressed under control of the GRE-mutated LTR-U3 promoter. We also established a new CC81-derived reporter cell line harboring the GRE-mutated LTR-U3 promoter (CC81-GREMG). To evaluate the sensibility, the utility and the specificity of the LuSIA using CC81-GREMG, we co-cultured CC81-GREMG cells with BLV-persistently infected cells, free-viruses, white blood cells (WBCs) from BLV-infected cows, and bovine immunodeficiency-like virus (BIV)- and bovine foamy virus (BFV)-infected cells. RESULTS: We successfully constructed a new reporter plasmid harboring a mutation in the GRE and established a new reporter cell line, CC81-GREMG; this line was stably transfected with pBLU3GREM-EGFP in which the EGFP gene is expressed under control of the GRE-mutated LTR-U3 promoter and enabled direct visualization of BLV infectivity. The new LuSIA protocol using CC81-GREMG cells measures cell-to-cell infectivity and cell-free infectivity of BLV more sensitively than previous protocol using CC81-BLU3G. Furthermore, it did not respond to BIV and BFV infections, indicating that the LuSIA based on CC81-GREMG is specific for BLV infectivity. Moreover, we confirmed the utility of a new LuSIA based on CC81-GREMG cells using white blood cells (WBCs) from BLV-infected cows. Finally, the assay was useful for assessing the activity of neutralizing antibodies in plasma collected from BLV-infected cows. CONCLUSION: The new LuSIA protocol is quantitative and more sensitive than the previous assay based on CC81-BLU3G cells and should facilitate development of several new BLV assays.