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Ahmed-Hassan, H., B. Sisson, R. K. Shukla, Y. Wijewantha, N. T. Funderburg, Z. Li, D. Hayes, T. Demberg, and N. P. M. Liyanage, "Innate Immune Responses to Highly Pathogenic Coronaviruses and Other Significant Respiratory Viral Infections.", Frontiers in immunology, vol. 11, pp. 1979, 2020. Abstract

The new pandemic virus SARS-CoV-2 emerged in China and spread around the world in <3 months, infecting millions of people, and causing countries to shut down public life and businesses. Nearly all nations were unprepared for this pandemic with healthcare systems stretched to their limits due to the lack of an effective vaccine and treatment. Infection with SARS-CoV-2 can lead to Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). COVID-19 is respiratory disease that can result in a cytokine storm with stark differences in morbidity and mortality between younger and older patient populations. Details regarding mechanisms of viral entry via the respiratory system and immune system correlates of protection or pathogenesis have not been fully elucidated. Here, we provide an overview of the innate immune responses in the lung to the coronaviruses MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2. This review provides insight into key innate immune mechanisms that will aid in the development of therapeutics and preventive vaccines for SARS-CoV-2 infection.

Abdul-Cader, M. S., U. De Silva Senapathi, H. Ahmed-Hassan, S. Sharif, and M. F. Abdul-Careem, "Single stranded (ss)RNA-mediated antiviral response against infectious laryngotracheitis virus infection.", BMC microbiology, vol. 19, issue 1, pp. 34, 2019 Feb 08. Abstract

BACKGROUND: Single stranded ribonucleic acid (ssRNA) binds to toll-like receptor (TLR)7 leading to recruitment of immune cells and production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which has been shown in mammals. In chickens, synthetic ssRNA analog, resiquimod, has been shown to elicit antiviral response against infectious bursal disease virus infection. The objective of this study was to determine the innate host responses activated by the pre-hatch in ovo administration of resiquimod against infectious laryngotracheitis virus (ILTV) infection in chickens post-hatch.

RESULTS: First, we observed that in ovo treatment of resiquimod at embryo day (ED) 18 increases macrophage recruitment in respiratory and gastrointestinal tissues of chicken day 1 post-hatch in addition to interleukin (IL)-1β in lungs. Second, we observed that in ovo treatment of resiquimod reduces ILTV cloacal shedding at 7 days post-infection (dpi) when challenged at day 1 post-hatch coinciding with higher macrophage recruitment. In vitro, we found that resiquimod enhances production of nitric oxide (NO) and IL-1β and not type 1 interferon (IFN) activity in avian macrophages. Although, the antiviral response against ILTV is associated with the enhanced innate immune response, it is not dependent on any of the innate immune mediators observed as has been shown in vitro using avian macrophage.

CONCLUSION: This study provides insights into the mechanisms of antiviral response mediated by resiquimod, particularly against ILTV infection in chicken.

Ahmed-Hassan, H., M. S. Abdul-Cader, M. A. Sabry, E. Hamza, S. Sharif, E. Nagy, and M. F. Abdul-Careem, "Double-Stranded Ribonucleic Acid-Mediated Antiviral Response Against Low Pathogenic Avian Influenza Virus Infection.", Viral immunology, vol. 31, issue 6, pp. 433-446, 2018 Jul/Aug. Abstract

Toll-like receptor (TLR)3 signaling pathway is known to induce type 1 interferons (IFNs) and proinflammatory mediators leading to antiviral response against many viral infections. Double-stranded ribonucleic acid (dsRNA) has been shown to act as a ligand for TLR3 and, as such, has been a focus as a potential antiviral agent in many host-viral infection models. Yet, its effectiveness and involved mechanisms as a mediator against low pathogenic avian influenza virus (LPAIV) have not been investigated adequately. In this study, we used avian fibroblasts to verify whether dsRNA induces antiviral response against HN LPAIV and clarify whether type 1 IFNs and proinflammatory mediators such as interleukin (IL)-1β are contributing to the dsRNA-mediated antiviral response against HN LPAIV. We found that dsRNA induces antiviral response in avian fibroblasts against HN LPAIV infection. The treatment of avian fibroblasts with dsRNA increases the expressions of TLR3, IFN-α, IFN-β, and IL-1β. We also confirmed that this antiviral response elicited against HN LPAIV infection correlates, but is not attributable to type 1 IFNs or IL-1β. Our findings imply that the TLR3 ligand, dsRNA, can elicit antiviral response in avian fibroblasts against LPAIV infection, highlighting potential value of dsRNA as an antiviral agent against LPAIV infections. However, further investigations are required to determine the potential role of other innate immune mediators or combination of the tested cytokines in the dsRNA-mediated antiviral response against HN LPAIV infection.

Abdul-Cader, M. S., V. Palomino-Tapia, A. Amarasinghe, H. Ahmed-Hassan, U. De Silva Senapathi, and M. F. Abdul-Careem, "Hatchery Vaccination Against Poultry Viral Diseases: Potential Mechanisms and Limitations.", Viral immunology, vol. 31, issue 1, pp. 23-33, 2018 Jan/Feb. Abstract

Commercial broiler and layer chickens are heavily vaccinated against economically important viral diseases with a view of preventing morbidity, mortality, and production impacts encountered during short production cycles. Hatchery vaccination is performed through in ovo embryo vaccination prehatch or spray and subcutaneous vaccinations performed at the day of hatch before the day-old chickens are being placed in barns with potentially contaminated environments. Commercially, multiple vaccines (e.g., live, live attenuated, and viral vectored vaccines) are available to administer through these routes within a short period (embryo day 18 prehatch to day 1 posthatch). Although the ability to mount immune response, especially the adaptive immune response, is not optimal around the hatch, it is possible that the efficacy of these vaccines depends partly on innate host responses elicited in response to replicating vaccine viruses. This review focuses on the current knowledge of hatchery vaccination in poultry and potential mechanisms of hatchery vaccine-mediated protective responses and limitations.

Ahmed-Hassan, H., M. S. Abdul-Cader, M. A. Sabry, E. Hamza, and M. F. Abdul-Careem, "Toll-like receptor (TLR)4 signalling induces myeloid differentiation primary response gene (MYD) 88 independent pathway in avian species leading to type I interferon production and antiviral response.", Virus research, vol. 256, pp. 107-116, 2018 Aug 08. Abstract

Engagement of toll-like receptor (TLR)4 ligand, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) with TLR4 in mammals activates two downstream intracellular signaling routes; the myeloid differentiation primary response gene (MyD)88 dependent and independent pathways. However, existence of the later pathway leading to production of type I interferons (IFNs) in avian species has been debated due to conflicting observations. The objective of our study was to investigate whether LPS induces type I IFN production in chicken macrophages leading to antiviral response attributable to type I IFN. We found that LPS elicits type I IFN response dominated by IFN-β production. We also found that reduction in infectious laryngotracheitis virus (ILTV) replication by LPS-mediated antiviral response is attributable to type I IFNs in addition to nitric oxide (NO). Our findings imply that LPS elicits both MyD88 dependent and independent pathways in chicken macrophages consequently eliciting anti-ILTV response attributable to production of both type I IFNs and NO.

Ahmed-Hassan, H., M. S. Abdul-Cader, U. De Silva Senapathi, M. A. Sabry, E. Hamza, E. Nagy, S. Sharif, and M. F. Abdul-Careem, "Potential mediators of in ovo delivered double stranded (ds) RNA-induced innate response against low pathogenic avian influenza virus infection.", Virology journal, vol. 15, issue 1, pp. 43, 2018 03 12. Abstract

BACKGROUND: Toll like receptor (TLR) 3 is a critically important innate pattern recognizing receptor that senses many viral infections. Although, it has been shown that double stranded (ds) RNA can be used for the stimulation of TLR3 signaling pathway in a number of host-viral infection models, it's effectiveness as an antiviral agent against low pathogenic avian influenza virus (LPAIV) needs further investigation.

METHODS: In this study, first, we delivered TLR3 ligand, dsRNA, in ovo at embryo day (ED)18 since in ovo route is routinely used for vaccination against poultry viral and parasitic infections and infected with H4N6 LPAIV 24-h post-treatment. A subset of in ovo dsRNA treated and control groups were observed for the expressions of TLR3 and type I interferon (IFN)s, mRNA expression of interleukin (IL)-1β and macrophage recruitment coinciding with the time of H4N6 LPAIV infection (24 h post-treatment). Additionally, Day 1 chickens were given dsRNA intra-tracheally along with a control group and a subset of chickens were infected with H4N6 LPAIV 24-h post-treatment whereas the rest of the animals were observed for macrophage and type 1 IFN responses coinciding with the time of viral infection.

RESULTS: Our results demonstrate that the pre-hatch treatment of eggs with dsRNA reduces H4N6 replication in lungs. Further studies revealed that in ovo delivery of dsRNA increases TLR3 expression, type I IFN production and number of macrophages in addition to mRNA expression of IL-1β in lung 24-h post-treatment. The same level of induction of innate response was not evident in the spleen. Moreover, we discovered that dsRNA elicits antiviral response against LPAIV correlating with type I IFN activity in macrophages in vitro. Post-hatch, we found no difference in H4N6 LPAIV genome loads between dsRNA treated and control chickens although we observed higher macrophage recruitment and IFN-β response coinciding with the time of viral infection.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings imply that the TLR3 ligand, dsRNA has antiviral activity in ovo and in vitro but not in chickens post-hatch and dsRNA-mediated innate host response is characterized by macrophage recruitment and expressions of TLR3 and type 1 IFNs.

Abdul-Cader, M. S., A. Amarasinghe, V. Palomino-Tapia, H. Ahmed-Hassan, K. Bakhtawar, E. Nagy, S. Sharif, S. Gomis, and M. F. Abdul-Careem, "In ovo CpG DNA delivery increases innate and adaptive immune cells in respiratory, gastrointestinal and immune systems post-hatch correlating with lower infectious laryngotracheitis virus infection.", PloS one, vol. 13, issue 3, pp. e0193964, 2018. Abstract

Cytosine-guanosine deoxynucleotides (CpG) DNA can be delivered in ovo at embryo day (ED)18 for the stimulation of toll-like receptor (TLR)21 signaling pathway that ultimately protects chickens against a number of bacterial and viral infections. There is a dearth of information understanding the mechanisms of protection induced by in ovo delivered CpG DNA. The objective of this study was to determine the immune cell changes post-hatch following in ovo delivery of the TLR21 ligand, CpG DNA. In order to quantify changes of percentage of KUL01+, IgM+ B, cluster of differentiation (CD)4+ and CD8α+ cells, trachea, lung, duodenum, large intestine, spleen and bursa of Fabricius were collected on day 1 post-hatch. We found increased recruitments of KUL01+ cells, in organs of these body systems post-hatch following in ovo delivery of CpG DNA. Although IgM+ B cells, CD4+ and CD8α+ cells were increased in lungs and immune system organs, these cells were not quantifiable from the trachea, duodenum and large intestine immediately following the hatch. Furthermore, when CpG DNA is delivered in ovo and subsequently infected with infectious laryngotracheitis virus (ILTV) post-hatch on day 1, CpG DNA reduces morbidity and mortality resulting from ILTV infection. This study provides insights into the mechanisms of host responses elicited following in ovo delivery of CpG DNA in avian species.

Abdul-Cader, M. S., H. Ahmed-Hassan, A. Amarasinghe, E. Nagy, S. Sharif, and M. F. Abdul-Careem, "Toll-like receptor (TLR)21 signalling-mediated antiviral response against avian influenza virus infection correlates with macrophage recruitment and nitric oxide production.", The Journal of general virology, vol. 98, issue 6, pp. 1209-1223, 2017 Jun. Abstract

Cytosine-guanosinedeoxynucleotide (CpG) DNA can be used for the stimulation of the toll-like receptor (TLR)21 signalling pathway in avian species which ultimately leads to up-regulation of gene transcription for pro-inflammatory molecules including nitric oxide and recruitment of innate immune cells. The objective of this study was to determine the antiviral effect of NO, produced in response to in ovo delivery of CpG DNA, against avian influenza virus (AIV) infection. We found that when CpG DNA is delivered at embryo day (ED)18 in ovo and subsequently challenged with H4N6 AIV at ED19 pre-hatch and day 1 post-hatching, CpG DNA reduces H4N6 AIV replication associated with enhanced NO production and macrophage recruitment in lungs. In vitro, we showed that NO originating from macrophages is capable of eliciting an antiviral response against H4N6 AIV infection. This study provides insights into the mechanisms of CpG DNA-mediated antiviral response, particularly against AIV infection in avian species.