|Transmission electron micrograph of two adenovirus particles|
|Group:||Group I (dsDNA)|
Adenoviruses are medium-sized (90–100 nm), nonenveloped (without an outer lipid bilayer) icosahedral viruses composed of a nucleocapsid and a double-stranded linear DNA genome. There are 57 described serotypes in humans, which are responsible for 5–10% of upper respiratory infections in children, and many infections in adults as well.
Viruses of the family Adenoviridae infect various species of vertebrates, including humans. Adenoviruses were first isolated in 1953 from human adenoids. They are classified as group I under the Baltimore classification scheme, meaning their genomes consist of double stranded DNA.
This family contains the following genera:
- Genus Atadenovirus; type species: Ovine adenovirus D
- Genus Aviadenovirus; type species: Fowl adenovirus A
- Genus Ichtadenovirus; type species: Sturgeon adenovirus A
- Genus Mastadenovirus; type species: Human adenovirus C; others include AD-36
- Genus Siadenovirus; type species: Frog adenovirus
Classification of Adenoviridae can be complex.
In humans, there are 57 accepted human adenovirus types (HAdV-1 to 57) in seven species (Human adenovirus A to G):
- A: 12, 18, 31
- B: 3, 7, 11, 14, 16, 21, 34, 35, 50, 55
- C: 1, 2, 5, 6, 57
- D: 8, 9, 10, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 33, 36, 37, 38, 39, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 51, 53, 54, 56
- E: 4
- F: 40, 41
- G: 52
Different types/serotypes are associated with different conditions:
- respiratory disease (mainly species HAdV-B and C)
- conjunctivitis (HAdV-B and D)
- gastroenteritis (HAdV-F types 40, 41, HAdV-G type 52)
Adenoviruses represent the largest nonenveloped viruses. Because of their large size, they are able to be transported through the endosome (i.e., envelope fusion is not necessary). The virion also has a unique "spike" or fiber associated with each penton base of the capsid (see picture below) that aids in attachment to the host cell via the coxsackie-adenovirus receptor on the surface of the host cell.
In 2010, scientists announced that they had solved the structure of the human adenovirus at the atomic level, making the largest high-resolution model ever. The virus is composed of around 1 million amino acid residues and weighs around 150 MDa.
The adenovirus genome is linear, non-segmented double-stranded (ds) DNA that is between 26 and 45 Kbp. This allows the virus to theoretically carry 22 to 40 genes. Although this is significantly larger than other viruses in its Baltimore group, it is still a very simple virus and is heavily reliant on the host cell for survival and replication. An interesting feature of this viral genome is that it has a terminal 55 kDa protein associated with each of the 5' ends of the linear dsDNA. These are used as primers in viral replication and ensure that the ends of the virus' linear genome are adequately replicated.
Entry of adenoviruses into the host cell involves two sets of interactions between the virus and the host cell. Most of the action occurs at the vertices. Entry into the host cell is initiated by the knob domain of the fiber protein binding to the cell receptor. The two currently established receptors are: CD46 for the group B human adenovirus serotypes and the coxsackievirus adenovirus receptor (CAR) for all other serotypes. There are some reports suggesting MHC molecules and sialic acid residues functioning in this capacity as well. This is followed by a secondary interaction, where a specialized motif in the penton base protein interacts with an integrin molecule. It is the co-receptor interaction that stimulates internalization of the adenovirus. This co-receptor molecule is αv integrin. Binding to αv integrin results in endocytosis of the virus particle via clathrin-coated pits. Attachment to αv integrin stimulates cell signaling and thus induces actin polymerization resulting in entry of the virion into the host cell within an endosome.
Once the virus has successfully gained entry into the host cell, the endosome acidifies, which alters virus topology by causing capsid components to disassociate. These changes as well as the toxic nature of the pentons result in the release of the virion into the cytoplasm. With the help of cellular microtubules, the virus is transported to the nuclear pore complex, whereby the adenovirus particle disassembles. Viral DNA is subsequently released, which can enter the nucleus via the nuclear pore. After this the DNA associates with histone molecules. Thus, viral gene expression can occur and new virus particles can be generated.
The adenovirus life cycle is separated by the DNA replication process into two phases: an early and a late phase. In both phases, a primary transcript that is alternatively spliced to generate monocistronic mRNAs compatible with the host’s ribosome is generated, allowing for the products to be translated.
The early genes are responsible for expressing mainly non-structural, regulatory proteins. The goal of these proteins is threefold: to alter the expression of host proteins that are necessary for DNA synthesis; to activate other virus genes (such as the virus-encoded DNA polymerase); and to avoid premature death of the infected cell by the host-immune defenses (blockage of apoptosis, blockage of interferon activity, and blockage of MHC class I translocation and expression).
Some adenoviruses under specialized conditions can transform cells using their early gene products. E1A (binds Retinoblastoma tumor suppressor protein) has been found to immortalize primary cells in vitro allowing E1B (binds p53 tumor suppressor) to assist and stably transform the cells. Nevertheless, they are reliant upon each other to successfully transform the host cell and form tumors.
DNA replication separates the early and late phases. Once the early genes have liberated adequate virus proteins, replication machinery, and replication substrates, replication of the adenovirus genome can occur. A terminal protein that is covalently bound to the 5’ end of the adenovirus genome acts as a primer for replication. The viral DNA polymerase then uses a strand displacement mechanism, as opposed to the conventional Okazaki fragments used in mammalian DNA replication, to replicate the genome.
The late phase of the adenovirus lifecycle is focused on producing sufficient quantities of structural protein to pack all the genetic material produced by DNA replication. Once the viral components have successfully been replicated, the virus is assembled into its protein shells and released from the cell as a result of virally induced cell lysis.
Adenoviruses are unusually stable to chemical or physical agents and adverse pH conditions, allowing for prolonged survival outside of the body and water. Adenoviruses are spread primarily via respiratory droplets, however they can also be spread by fecal routes.
Humans infected with adenoviruses display a wide range of responses, from no symptoms at all to the severe infections typical of Adenovirus serotype 14.
Two types of canine adenoviruses are well known, type 1 and 2. Type 1 causes infectious canine hepatitis, a potentially fatal disease involving vasculitis and hepatitis. Type 1 infection can also cause respiratory and eye infections. Canine adenovirus 2 (CAdV-2) is one of the potential causes of kennel cough. Core vaccines for dogs include attenuated live CAdV-2, which produces immunity to CAdV-1 and CAdV-2. CAdV-1 was initially used in a vaccine for dogs, but corneal edema was a common complication.
Adenovirus in Reptiles is poorly understood, but research is currently in progress.
Adenoviruses are also known to cause respiratory infections in horses, cattle, pigs, sheep, and goats. Equine adenovirus 1 can also cause fatal disease in immunocompromised Arabian foals, involving pneumonia and destruction of pancreatic and salivary gland tissue. Tree shrew adenovirus 1 has been isolated from tree shrews.
Otarine adenovirus 1 has been isolated from sea lions.
The Fowl adenoviruses are associated with many disease conditions in domestic fowl like Inclusion body hepatitis, Hydropericardoum syndrome, Egg drop syndrome, Quail bronchitis and many respiratory conditions.They have also been isolated from wild kites (Milvus migrans).
Titi monkey adenovirus was isolated from a colony of monkeys.
In the past, US military recruits were vaccinated against two serotypes of adenotypes, with a corresponding decrease in illnesses caused by those serotypes. The vaccine is no longer manufactured, and there are currently no vaccines available to protect against the adenovirus.
The U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command announced on 31 October 2011 that the new adenovirus vaccine, which replaces the older version that has been out of production for over a decade, was shipped to basic training sites Oct. 18, 2011. More information is available here.
Good hygiene, including handwashing, is still the best way to avoid picking up the adenovirus from an infected person.
Most infections with adenovirus result in infections of the upper respiratory tract. Adenovirus infections often show up as conjunctivitis, tonsilitis (which may look exactly like strep throat and cannot be distinguished from strep except by throat culture), an ear infection, or croup. Adenoviruses, types 40 and 41 can also cause gastroenteritis. A combination of conjunctivitis and tonsilitis is particularly common with adenovirus infections. Some children (especially small ones) can develop adenovirus bronchiolitis or pneumonia, both of which can be severe. In babies, adenoviruses can also cause coughing fits that look almost exactly like whooping cough. Adenoviruses can also cause viral meningitis or encephalitis. Rarely, adenovirus can cause hemorrhagic cystitis (inflammation of the urinary bladder—a form of urinary tract infection — with blood in the urine).
Most people recover from adenovirus infections by themselves, but people with immunodeficiency sometimes die of adenovirus infections, and — rarely — even previously healthy people can die of these infections.
Adenoviruses are often transmitted by expectorate, but can also be transmitted by contact with an infected person, or by virus particles left on objects such as towels and faucet handles. Some people with adenovirus gastroenteritis may shed the virus in their stools for months after getting over the symptoms. The virus can be passed from one person to another through some sexual practices, and through water in swimming pools that do not have enough chlorine in them. As with many other illnesses, good handwashing is one way to inhibit the spread of adenoviruses from one person to another. Heat and bleach will kill adenoviruses on objects.
There are no antiviral drugs to treat adenoviral infections, so treatment is largely directed at the symptoms (such as acetaminophen for fever). A doctor may give antibiotic eyedrops for conjunctivitis, since it takes a while to test to see if the eye infection is bacterial or viral and to help prevent secondary bacterial infections. Currently, there is no adenovirus vaccine for humans.
Adenovirus is used as a vehicle to administer targeted therapy, in the form of recombinant DNA or protein. Specific modifications on fibre proteins are used to target Adenovirus to certain cell types; a major effort is made to limit hepatotoxicity and prevent multiple organ failure. Adenovirus dodecahedron can qualify as a potent delivery platform for foreign antigens to human myeloid dendritic cells (MDC), and that it is efficiently presented by MDC to M1-specific CD8+ T lymphocytes.
See also 
- Infectious canine hepatitis
- Gene therapy (adenoviruses are a common viral vector)
- Oncolytic adenovirus (Adenoviruses are a potential anti-cancer agent)
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