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      MERS-coronavirus replication induces severe in vitro cytopathology and is strongly inhibited by cyclosporin A or interferon-α treatment


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          Coronavirus (CoV) infections are commonly associated with respiratory and enteric disease in humans and animals. The 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) highlighted the potentially lethal consequences of CoV-induced disease in humans. In 2012, a novel CoV (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus; MERS-CoV) emerged, causing 49 human cases thus far, of which 23 had a fatal outcome. In this study, we characterized MERS-CoV replication and cytotoxicity in human and monkey cell lines. Electron microscopy of infected Vero cells revealed extensive membrane rearrangements, including the formation of double-membrane vesicles and convoluted membranes, which have been implicated previously in the RNA synthesis of SARS-CoV and other CoVs. Following infection, we observed rapidly increasing viral RNA synthesis and release of high titres of infectious progeny, followed by a pronounced cytopathology. These characteristics were used to develop an assay for antiviral compound screening in 96-well format, which was used to identify cyclosporin A as an inhibitor of MERS-CoV replication in cell culture. Furthermore, MERS-CoV was found to be 50–100 times more sensitive to alpha interferon (IFN-α) treatment than SARS-CoV, an observation that may have important implications for the treatment of MERS-CoV-infected patients. MERS-CoV infection did not prevent the IFN-induced nuclear translocation of phosphorylated STAT1, in contrast to infection with SARS-CoV where this block inhibits the expression of antiviral genes. These findings highlight relevant differences between these distantly related zoonotic CoVs in terms of their interaction with and evasion of the cellular innate immune response.

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          Isolation of a novel coronavirus from a man with pneumonia in Saudi Arabia.

          A previously unknown coronavirus was isolated from the sputum of a 60-year-old man who presented with acute pneumonia and subsequent renal failure with a fatal outcome in Saudi Arabia. The virus (called HCoV-EMC) replicated readily in cell culture, producing cytopathic effects of rounding, detachment, and syncytium formation. The virus represents a novel betacoronavirus species. The closest known relatives are bat coronaviruses HKU4 and HKU5. Here, the clinical data, virus isolation, and molecular identification are presented. The clinical picture was remarkably similar to that of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003 and reminds us that animal coronaviruses can cause severe disease in humans.
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            Identification of a Novel Coronavirus in Patients with Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome

            The severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has recently been identified as a new clinical entity. SARS is thought to be caused by an unknown infectious agent. Clinical specimens from patients with SARS were searched for unknown viruses with the use of cell cultures and molecular techniques. A novel coronavirus was identified in patients with SARS. The virus was isolated in cell culture, and a sequence 300 nucleotides in length was obtained by a polymerase-chain-reaction (PCR)-based random-amplification procedure. Genetic characterization indicated that the virus is only distantly related to known coronaviruses (identical in 50 to 60 percent of the nucleotide sequence). On the basis of the obtained sequence, conventional and real-time PCR assays for specific and sensitive detection of the novel virus were established. Virus was detected in a variety of clinical specimens from patients with SARS but not in controls. High concentrations of viral RNA of up to 100 million molecules per milliliter were found in sputum. Viral RNA was also detected at extremely low concentrations in plasma during the acute phase and in feces during the late convalescent phase. Infected patients showed seroconversion on the Vero cells in which the virus was isolated. The novel coronavirus might have a role in causing SARS. Copyright 2003 Massachusetts Medical Society
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              A novel coronavirus associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome.

              A worldwide outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) has been associated with exposures originating from a single ill health care worker from Guangdong Province, China. We conducted studies to identify the etiologic agent of this outbreak. We received clinical specimens from patients in seven countries and tested them, using virus-isolation techniques, electron-microscopical and histologic studies, and molecular and serologic assays, in an attempt to identify a wide range of potential pathogens. None of the previously described respiratory pathogens were consistently identified. However, a novel coronavirus was isolated from patients who met the case definition of SARS. Cytopathological features were noted in Vero E6 cells inoculated with a throat-swab specimen. Electron-microscopical examination revealed ultrastructural features characteristic of coronaviruses. Immunohistochemical and immunofluorescence staining revealed reactivity with group I coronavirus polyclonal antibodies. Consensus coronavirus primers designed to amplify a fragment of the polymerase gene by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) were used to obtain a sequence that clearly identified the isolate as a unique coronavirus only distantly related to previously sequenced coronaviruses. With specific diagnostic RT-PCR primers we identified several identical nucleotide sequences in 12 patients from several locations, a finding consistent with a point-source outbreak. Indirect fluorescence antibody tests and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays made with the new isolate have been used to demonstrate a virus-specific serologic response. This virus may never before have circulated in the U.S. population. A novel coronavirus is associated with this outbreak, and the evidence indicates that this virus has an etiologic role in SARS. Because of the death of Dr. Carlo Urbani, we propose that our first isolate be named the Urbani strain of SARS-associated coronavirus. Copyright 2003 Massachusetts Medical Society

                Author and article information

                J Gen Virol
                J. Gen. Virol
                The Journal of General Virology
                Society for General Microbiology
                August 2013
                August 2013
                : 94
                : Pt 8
                : 1749-1760
                [1 ]Molecular Virology Laboratory, Department of Medical Microbiology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands
                [2 ]Viroscience Lab, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
                [3 ]Section Electron Microscopy, Department of Molecular Cell Biology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, The Netherlands
                Author notes
                Correspondence Eric. J. Snijder E.J.Snijder@ 123456lumc.nl Bernadette G. van den Hoogen b.vandenhoogen@ 123456erasmusmc.nl
                © 2013 SGM

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Funded by: Council for Chemical Sciences (CW)
                Award ID: 700.57.301
                Funded by: Council for Earth and Life Sciences (ALW)
                Award ID: 836.10.003
                Funded by: EU-FP7-Health project SILVER
                Award ID: 260644
                RNA viruses
                Custom metadata

                Microbiology & Virology
                Microbiology & Virology


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