Dissecting the potential role of hepatitis E virus ORF1 non-structural gene in cross-species infection by using intergenotypic chimeric viruses

Debin Tiana, Danielle M. Yugo, Scott P Kenney, C. Lynn Heffrona, Tanja Opriessnig, Anbu K Karuppannan, Jenna Bayne, Patrick G Halbur, Xiang-Jin Meng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Abstract

Hepatitis E virus (HEV) infects humans and more than a dozen other animal species. We previously showed that ORF2 and ORF3 are apparently not involved in HEV cross-species infection, which infers that the ORF1 may contribute to host tropism. In this study, we utilize the genomic backbone of HEV-1 which only infects humans to construct a panel of intergenotypic chimeras in which the entire ORF1 gene or its functional domains were swapped with the corresponding regions from HEV-3 that infects both humans and pigs. We demonstrated that the chimeric HEVs were replication competent in human liver cells. Subsequently, we intrahepatically inoculated the RNA transcripts of chimeras into pigs to determine if the swapped ORF1 regions confer the chimeras’ ability to infect pigs. We showed that there was no evidence of infectivity in pigs for any of the chimeras. We also investigated the role of human ribosome protein sequence S17, which expanded host range in cultured cells, in HEV cross-species infection. We demonstrated that S17 insertion in HEV ORF1 did not abolish HEV replication competency in vitro, but also did not expand HEV host tropism in vivo. The results highlight the complexity of the underlying mechanism of HEV cross-species infection.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Medical Virology
Early online date26 Jun 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Jun 2020

Keywords

  • Hepatitis E virus (HEV)
  • cross-species infection
  • host tropism
  • intergenotypic chimeric viruses
  • pig
  • zoonotic infection

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