A reporter open reading frame (ORF) coding for a fusion of bacterial β-glucuronidase (GUS) with a proteinase domain (Pro) derived from tobacco etch potyvirus was utilized for tagging individual genes of beet yellows closterovirus (BYV). Insertion of this reporter ORF between the first and second codons of the BYV ORFs encoding the HSP70 homolog (HSP70h), a major capsid protein (CP), and a 20-kDa protein (p20) resulted in the expression of the processed GUS-Pro reporter from corresponding subgenomic RNAs. The high sensitivity of GUS assays permitted temporal analysis of reporter accumulation, revealing early expression from the HSP70h promoter, followed by the CP promoter and later the p20 promoter. The kinetics of transcription of the remaining BYV genes encoding a 64-kDa protein (p64), a minor capsid protein (CPm), and a 21-kDa protein (p21) were examined via Northern blot analysis. Taken together, the data indicated that the temporal regulation of BYV gene expression includes early (HSP70h, CPm, CP, and p21 promoters) and late (p64 and p20 promoters) phases. It was also demonstrated that the deletion of six viral genes that are nonessential for RNA amplification resulted in a dramatic increase in the level of transcription from one of the two remaining subgenomic promoters. Comparison with other positive-strand RNA viruses producing multiple subgenomic RNAs showed the uniqueness of the pattern of closterovirus transcriptional regulation.
The Hsp70 homolog (Hsp70h) of Beet yellows virus (BYV) functions in virion assembly and cell-to-cell movement and is autonomously targeted to plasmodesmata in association with the actomyosin motility system (A. I. Prokhnevsky, V. V. Peremyslov, and V. V. Dolja, J. Virol. 79:14421-14428, 2005). Myosins are a diverse category of molecular motors that possess a motor domain and a tail domain involved in cargo binding. Plants have two classes of myosins, VIII and XI, whose specific functions are poorly understood. We used dominant negative inhibition to identify myosins required for Hsp70h localization to plasmodesmata. Six full-length myosin cDNAs from the BYV host plant Nicotiana benthamiana were sequenced and shown to encode apparent orthologs of the Arabidopsis thaliana myosins VIII-1, VIII-2, VIII-B, XI-2, XI-F, and XI-K. We found that the ectopic expression of the tail domains of each of the class VIII, but not the class XI, myosins inhibited the plasmodesmatal localization of Hsp70h. In contrast, the overexpression of the motor domains or the entire molecules of the class VIII myosins did not affect Hsp70h targeting. Further mapping revealed that the minimal cargo-binding part of the myosin VIII tails was both essential and sufficient for the inhibition of the proper Hsp70h localization. Interestingly, plasmodesmatal localization of the Tobacco mosaic virus movement protein and Arabidopsis protein RGP2 was not affected by myosin VIII tail overexpression. Collectively, our data implicate class VIII myosins in protein delivery to plasmodesmata and suggest that more than one mechanism of such delivery exist in plants.
Systemic spread of viruses in plants involves local movement from cell to cell and long-distance transport through the vascular system. The cell-to-cell movement of the Beet yellows virus (BYV) is mediated by a movement protein that is an Hsp70 homolog (Hsp70h). This protein is required for the assembly of movement-competent virions that incorporate Hsp70h. By using the yeast two-hybrid system, in vitro coimmunoprecipitation, and in planta coexpression approaches, we show here that the Hsp70h interacts with a 20-kDa BYV protein (p20). We further demonstrate that p20 is associated with the virions presumably via binding to Hsp70h. Genetic and immunochemical analyses indicate that p20 is dispensable for assembly and cell-to-cell movement of BYV but is required for the long-distance transport of virus through the phloem. These results reveal a novel activity for the Hsp70h that provides a molecular link between the local and systemic spread of a plant virus by docking a long-distance transport factor to virions.
Members of the Closteroviridae and Potyviridae families of the plant positive-strand RNA viruses encode one or two papain-like leader proteinases. In addition to a C-terminal proteolytic domain, each of these proteinases possesses a nonproteolytic N-terminal domain. We compared functions of the several leader proteinases using a gene swapping approach. The leader proteinase (L-Pro) of Beet yellows virus (BYV; a closterovirus) was replaced with L1 or L2 proteinases of Citrus tristeza virus (CTV; another closterovirus), P-Pro proteinase of Lettuce infectious yellows virus (LIYV; a crinivirus), and HC-Pro proteinase of Tobacco etch virus (a potyvirus). Each foreign proteinase efficiently processed the chimeric BYV polyprotein in vitro. However, only L1 and P-Pro, not L2 and HC-Pro, were able to rescue the amplification of the chimeric BYV variants. The combined expression of L1 and L2 resulted in an increased RNA accumulation compared to that of the parental BYV. Remarkably, this L1-L2 chimera exhibited reduced invasiveness and inability to move from cell to cell. Similar analyses of the BYV hybrids, in which only the papain-like domain of L-Pro was replaced with those derived from L1, L2, P-Pro, and HC-Pro, also revealed functional specialization of these domains. In subcellular-localization experiments, distinct patterns were observed for the leader proteinases of BYV, CTV, and LIYV. Taken together, these results demonstrated that, in addition to a common proteolytic activity, the leader proteinases of closteroviruses possess specialized functions in virus RNA amplification, virus invasion, and cell-to-cell movement. The phylogenetic analysis suggested that functionally distinct L1 and L2 of CTV originated by a gene duplication event.
Criniviruses comprise one of the genera within the family Closteroviridae. Members in this family are restricted to the phloem and rely on whitefly vectors of the genera Bemisia and/or Trialeurodes for plant-to-plant transmission. All criniviruses have bipartite, positive-sense single-stranded RNA genomes, although there is an unconfirmed report of one having a tripartite genome. Lettuce infectious yellows virus (LIYV) is the type species of the genus, the best studied so far of the criniviruses and the first for which a reverse genetics system was developed. LIYV RNA 1 encodes for proteins predicted to be involved in replication, and alone is competent for replication in protoplasts. Replication results in accumulation of cytoplasmic vesiculated membranous structures which are characteristic of most studied members of the Closteroviridae. These membranous structures, often referred to as Beet yellows virus (BYV)-type vesicles, are likely sites of RNA replication. LIYV RNA 2 is replicated in trans when co-infecting cells with RNA 1, but is temporally delayed relative to RNA 1. Efficient RNA 2 replication also is dependent on the RNA 1-encoded RNA-binding protein, P34. No LIYV RNA 2-encoded proteins have been shown to affect RNA replication, but at least four, CP (major coat protein), CPm (minor coat protein), Hsp70h, and P59 are virion structural components and CPm is a determinant of whitefly transmissibility. Roles of other LIYV RNA 2-encoded proteins are largely as yet unknown, but P26 is a non-virion protein that accumulates in cells as characteristic plasmalemma deposits which in plants are localized within phloem parenchyma and companion cells over plasmodesmata connections to sieve elements. The two remaining crinivirus-conserved RNA 2-encoded proteins are P5 and P9. P5 is 39 amino acid protein and is encoded at the 5′ end of RNA 2 as ORF 1 and is part of the hallmark closterovirus gene array. The orthologous gene in BYV has been shown to play a role in cell-to-cell movement and indicated to be localized to the endoplasmic reticulum as a Type III integral membrane protein. The other small protein, P9, is encoded by ORF 4 overlaps with ORF 3 that encodes the structural protein, P59. P9 seems to be unique to viruses in the genus Crinivirus, as no similar protein has been detected in viruses of the other two genera of the Closteroviridae.
phloem-limited; plasmalemma deposit; whitefly vector; Crinivirus; quintuple gene block
Filamentous virions of Beet yellows virus contain a long body formed by a major capsid protein and a short tail that is assembled by a minor capsid protein (CPm), an Hsp70-homolog (Hsp70h), a 64-kDa protein (p64), and a 20-kDa protein (p20). Using mutation analysis and newly developed in planta assays, here we investigate the genetic requirements for the tail assembly. We show that the inactivation of CPm dramatically reduces incorporation of both Hsp70h and p64. Furthermore, inactivation of Hsp70h prevents incorporation of p64 into virions and vice versa. Hsp70h and p64 are each required for efficient incorporation of CPm. We also show that the tails possessing normal relative amounts of CPm, Hsp70h, and p64 can be formed in the absence of the major capsid protein and p20. Similar to the tails isolated from the wild type virions, these mutant tails encapsidate the ~700 nt-long, 5’-terminal segments of the viral RNA. Taken together, our results imply that CPm, Hsp70h and p64 act cooperatively to encapsidate a defined region of the closterovirus genome.
Virus assembly; helical virion; Closterovirus; Hsp70
A full-length cDNA clone of beet yellows closterovirus (BYV) was engineered and used to map functions involved in the replication of the viral RNA genome and subgenomic RNA formation. Among 10 open reading frames (ORFs) present in BYV, ORFs 1a and 1b suffice for RNA replication and transcription. The proteins encoded in these ORFs harbor putative methyltransferase, RNA helicase, and RNA polymerase domains common to Sindbis virus-like viruses and a large interdomain region that is unique to closteroviruses. The papain-like leader proteinase (L-Pro) encoded in the 5′-proximal region of ORF 1a was found to have a dual function in genome amplification. First, the autocatalytic cleavage between L-Pro and the remainder of the ORF 1a product was essential for replication of RNA. Second, an additional L-Pro function that was separable from proteolytic activity was required for efficient RNA accumulation. The deletion of a large, ∼5.6-kb, 3′-terminal region coding for a 6-kDa hydrophobic protein, an HSP70 homolog, a 64-kDa protein, minor and major capsid proteins, a 20-kDa protein, and a 21-kDa protein (p21) resulted in replication-competent RNA. However, examination of mutants with replacements of start codons in each of these seven 3′-terminal ORFs revealed that p21 functions as an enhancer of genome amplification. The intriguing analogies between the genome organization and replicational requirements of plant closteroviruses and animal coronavirus-like viruses are discussed.
In eukaryotic virus systems, infection leads to induction of membranous compartments in which replication occurs. Virus-encoded subunits of the replication complex mediate its interaction with membranes. As replication platforms, RNA viruses use the cytoplasmic surfaces of different membrane compartments, e.g., endoplasmic reticulum (ER), Golgi, endo/lysosomes, mitochondria, chloroplasts, and peroxisomes. Closterovirus infections are accompanied by formation of multivesicular complexes from cell membranes of ER or mitochondrial origin. So far the mechanisms for vesicles formation have been obscure. In the replication-associated 1a polyprotein of Beet yellows virus (BYV) and other closteroviruses, the region between the methyltransferase and helicase domains (1a central region (CR), 1a CR) is marginally conserved. Computer-assisted analysis predicts several putative membrane-binding domains in the BYV 1a CR. Transient expression of a hydrophobic segment (referred to here as CR-2) of the BYV 1a in Nicotiana benthamiana led to reorganization of the ER and formation of ~1-μm mobile globules. We propose that the CR-2 may be involved in the formation of multivesicular complexes in BYV-infected cells. This provides analogy with membrane-associated proteins mediating the build-up of “virus factories” in cells infected with diverse positive-strand RNA viruses (alpha-like viruses, picorna-like viruses, flaviviruses, and nidoviruses) and negative-strand RNA viruses (bunyaviruses).
RNA virus replication; membrane vesicles; virus replication factory; endoplasmic reticulum modification; intracellular traffic
The 66-kDa leader proteinase (L-Pro) of the Beet yellows virus (BYV) possesses a nonconserved N-terminal domain and a conserved, papain-like C-terminal domain. Previous work revealed that the N-terminal domain functions in RNA amplification, whereas the C-terminal domain is required for autoproteolysis. Alanine-scanning mutagenesis was applied to complete the functional analysis of L-Pro throughout the virus life cycle. This analysis indicated that the C-terminal domain of L-Pro, in addition to being required for proteolysis, also functions in RNA amplification and that these two functions are genetically separable. Examination of the role of L-Pro in BYV cell-to-cell movement revealed that none of the 20 examined replication-competent mutants was movement defective. In contrast, six of the L-Pro mutations affected the long-distance transport of BYV to various degrees, whereas three mutations completely abolished the transport. Because these mutations were located throughout the protein molecule, both domains of L-Pro function in virus transport. We conclude that in addition to previously identified functions of L-Pro, it also serves as the BYV long-distance transport factor.
The herpesviruses, like most other DNA viruses, replicate in the host cell nucleus. Subnuclear domains known as promyelocytic leukemia protein nuclear bodies (PML-NBs), or ND10 bodies, have been implicated in restricting early herpesviral gene expression. These viruses have evolved countermeasures to disperse PML-NBs, as shown in cells infected in vitro, but information about the fate of PML-NBs and their functions in herpesvirus infected cells in vivo is limited. Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is an alphaherpesvirus with tropism for skin, lymphocytes and sensory ganglia, where it establishes latency. Here, we identify large PML-NBs that sequester newly assembled nucleocapsids (NC) in neurons and satellite cells of human dorsal root ganglia (DRG) and skin cells infected with VZV in vivo. Quantitative immuno-electron microscopy revealed that these distinctive nuclear bodies consisted of PML fibers forming spherical cages that enclosed mature and immature VZV NCs. Of six PML isoforms, only PML IV promoted the sequestration of NCs. PML IV significantly inhibited viral infection and interacted with the ORF23 capsid surface protein, which was identified as a target for PML-mediated NC sequestration. The unique PML IV C-terminal domain was required for both capsid entrapment and antiviral activity. Similar large PML-NBs, termed clastosomes, sequester aberrant polyglutamine (polyQ) proteins, such as Huntingtin (Htt), in several neurodegenerative disorders. We found that PML IV cages co-sequester HttQ72 and ORF23 protein in VZV infected cells. Our data show that PML cages contribute to the intrinsic antiviral defense by sensing and entrapping VZV nucleocapsids, thereby preventing their nuclear egress and inhibiting formation of infectious virus particles. The efficient sequestration of virion capsids in PML cages appears to be the outcome of a basic cytoprotective function of this distinctive category of PML-NBs in sensing and safely containing nuclear aggregates of aberrant proteins.
Many DNA viruses, including varicella-zoster virus (VZV), a herpesvirus that causes varicella (chickenpox) and zoster (shingles), replicate in the host cell nucleus. Here, we have identified an intrinsic antiviral mechanism that specifically targets newly assembled VZV capsids and contains these essential viral structures in a nuclear “safe house”. Using immuno-electron microscopy, PML (promyelocytic leukemia) protein fibers that formed filamentous spherical cages were shown to trap virion capsids very efficiently, preventing their transport out of the nucleus and inhibiting the formation of infectious virus particles. PML cages containing virion capsids were found in VZV-infected neurons and satellite cells in human sensory ganglia and in skin cells, which are major targets during VZV pathogenesis. Similar PML nuclear bodies that sequester abnormal proteins have been reported in neurodegenerative disorders, like Huntington's disease. We found that cages formed by PML isoform IV sequestered both the virion capsids of VZV, which is a neurotropic herpesvirus, and the mutant Huntington's disease protein. This work provides the first evidence that PML, which is abundant in mammalian cell nuclei, can function both to contain potentially damaging cellular protein aggregates and as an intrinsic host defense against a herpesvirus during nuclear virion assembly.
A cell lysate prepared from MA104 cells that had been infected with human rotavirus KUN strain (HRV-KUN) contained a 35-kilodalton protein capable of binding to MA104 cells. The binding of the 35-kilodalton protein was inhibited by a serotype 2-specific antiserum but not by antisera to other serotypes. Not only trypsin-treated, infectious HRV-KUN but also untreated, noninfectious virions effectively competed with the 35-kilodalton protein for the same cell surface binding sites. One monoclonal anti-VP7 (AH6) absorbed the 35-kilodalton protein from the HRV-KUN-infected cell lysate, whereas another monoclonal anti-VP7 (S2-2G10) inhibited the virions to compete with the 35-kilodalton protein for the cell surface binding sites. Both anti-VP7 (S2-2G10) and anti-VP3 (K-1532, K-376) monoclonal antibodies had the virus-neutralization activity, but only anti-VP7 inhibited virus adsorption. On the other hand, anti-VP3 monoclonal antibodies were capable of completely inhibiting the infection of preadsorbed HRV-KUN as long as virions were not yet internalized. Subsequent studies with [35S]methionine-labeled and purified HRV-KUN showed that not only trypsin-treated, infectious virions but also untreated, noninfectious virions were capable of efficient target cell binding and internalization. The internalization modes of these two HRV-KUN preparations were, however, quite different. Only the components of the inner capsid were internalized from trypsin-treated virions, whereas no such selective internalization was seen with untreated virions. Furthermore, anti-VP3 inhibited this selective internalization of the inner capsid from the infectious virions. From these results we conclude that VP7 is the HRV-KUN cell attachment protein and that adsorption of HRV-KUN via VP7 is independent of trypsin treatment, whereas the limited cleavage of VP3 by trypsin, which is essential for the development of HRV-KUN infectivity, is needed for the selective internalization of the inner capsid components, a process that is apparently essential for HRV-KUN infection.
Incorporation of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Gag-Pol into virions is thought to be mediated by the N-terminal Gag domain via interaction with the Gag precursor. However, one recent study has demonstrated that the murine leukemia virus Pol can be incorporated into virions independently of Gag-Pol expression, implying a possible interaction between the Pol and Gag precursor. To test whether the HIV-1 Pol can be incorporated into virions on removal of the N-terminal Gag domain and to define sequences required for the incorporation of Gag-Pol into virions in more detail, a series of HIV Gag-Pol expression plasmids with various extensive deletions in the region upstream of the reverse transcriptase (RT) domain was constructed, and viral incorporation of the Gag-Pol deletion mutants was examined by cotransfecting 293T cells with a plasmid expressing Pr55gag. Analysis indicated that deletion of the N-terminal two-thirds of the gag coding region did not significantly affect the incorporation of Gag-Pol into virions. In contrast, Gag-Pol proteins with deletions covering the capsid (CA) major homology regions and the adjacent C-terminal CA regions were impaired with respect to assembly into virions. However, Gag-Pol with sequences deleted upstream of the protease, or of the RT domain but retaining 15 N-terminal gag codons, could still be rescued into virions at a level about 20% of the wild-type level. When assayed in a nonmyristylated Gag-Pol context, all of the Gag-Pol deletion mutants were incorporated into virions at a level comparable to their myristylated counterparts, suggesting that the incorporation of the Gag-Pol deletion mutants into virions is independent of the N-terminal myristylation signal.
During herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV1) egress in neurons, viral particles travel from the neuronal cell body along the axon towards the synapse. Whether HSV1 particles are transported as enveloped virions as proposed by the ‘married’ model or as non-enveloped capsids suggested by the ‘separate’ model is controversial. Specific viral proteins may form a recruitment platform for microtubule motors that catalyze such transport. However, their subviral location has remained elusive. Here we established a system to analyze herpesvirus egress by cryo electron tomography. At 16 h post infection, we observed intra-axonal transport of progeny HSV1 viral particles in dissociated hippocampal neurons by live-cell fluorescence microscopy. Cryo electron tomography of frozen-hydrated neurons revealed that most egressing capsids were transported independently of the viral envelope. Unexpectedly, we found not only DNA-containing capsids (cytosolic C-capsids), but also capsids lacking DNA (cytosolic A-/B-capsids) in mid-axon regions. Subvolume averaging revealed lower amounts of tegument on cytosolic A-/B-capsids than on C-capsids. Nevertheless, all capsid types underwent active axonal transport. Therefore, even few tegument proteins on the capsid vertices seemed to suffice for transport. Secondary envelopment of capsids was observed at axon terminals. On their luminal face, the enveloping vesicles were studded with typical glycoprotein-like spikes. Furthermore, we noted an accretion of tegument density at the concave cytosolic face of the vesicle membrane in close proximity to the capsids. Three-dimensional analysis revealed that these assembly sites lacked cytoskeletal elements, but that filamentous actin surrounded them and formed an assembly compartment. Our data support the ‘separate model’ for HSV1 egress, i.e. progeny herpes viruses being transported along axons as subassemblies and not as complete virions within transport vesicles.
Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV1) establishes lifelong latent infections in the peripheral nervous system. After reactivation, progeny viral particles travel within sensory neurons towards sites of initial infection. There are conflicting reports what type of viral structures are transported: some studies observed non-enveloped capsids traveling while others reported transport of fully enveloped viruses within vesicles. Here, we used cryo electron tomography to analyze the three-dimensional architecture of HSV1 in axons of hippocampal neurons. In mid-axonal regions we found predominantly non-enveloped capsids. Interestingly, we observed both genome-containing and empty capsids that differed significantly in the amount of bound proteins. Viral protein recruitment thus varied between the different cytosolic capsid types, but effective transport occurred despite these differences. Furthermore, we observed three-dimensional snapshots of secondary capsid envelopment in axon terminals. Altogether, this study provides valuable structural detail on axonal HSV1 particles supporting the notion that viral subassemblies are conveyed along the axons to be assembled only after axonal transport.
Modeling how PRD1, a dsDNA membrane-containing virus, packages its genome using electron cryo-microscopy.
Two crucial steps in the virus life cycle are genome encapsidation to form an infective virion and genome exit to infect the next host cell. In most icosahedral double-stranded (ds) DNA viruses, the viral genome enters and exits the capsid through a unique vertex. Internal membrane-containing viruses possess additional complexity as the genome must be translocated through the viral membrane bilayer. Here, we report the structure of the genome packaging complex with a membrane conduit essential for viral genome encapsidation in the tailless icosahedral membrane-containing bacteriophage PRD1. We utilize single particle electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM) and symmetry-free image reconstruction to determine structures of PRD1 virion, procapsid, and packaging deficient mutant particles. At the unique vertex of PRD1, the packaging complex replaces the regular 5-fold structure and crosses the lipid bilayer. These structures reveal that the packaging ATPase P9 and the packaging efficiency factor P6 form a dodecameric portal complex external to the membrane moiety, surrounded by ten major capsid protein P3 trimers. The viral transmembrane density at the special vertex is assigned to be a hexamer of heterodimer of proteins P20 and P22. The hexamer functions as a membrane conduit for the DNA and as a nucleating site for the unique vertex assembly. Our structures show a conformational alteration in the lipid membrane after the P9 and P6 are recruited to the virion. The P8-genome complex is then packaged into the procapsid through the unique vertex while the genome terminal protein P8 functions as a valve that closes the channel once the genome is inside. Comparing mature virion, procapsid, and mutant particle structures led us to propose an assembly pathway for the genome packaging apparatus in the PRD1 virion.
The life cycle of a virus involves serial coordination of viral molecular machines. These machines facilitate functions such as membrane fusion and genome delivery during infection, and capsid formation and genome packaging during replication and shedding. Icosahedral dsDNA viruses use one genome-translocation machine for both genome delivery and packaging. The genome-translocation machine of the membrane-containing bacterial virus PRD1 is composed of four packaging protein species at a unique vertex. Because these proteins do not follow the dominating icosahedral symmetry of the viral capsid, the structure of this vertex has remained elusive. In this study, we localize the unique vertex in the virus from raw electron cryo-microscopy images of the virus. We show that the genome-packaging complex of PRD1 replaces the regular 5-fold structure at the unique vertex and contains a transmembrane conduit as a genome translocation channel. We extend our structural studies to the procapsid—a precursor of the virus—and three packaging mutant particles, allowing us to localize all individual protein species in the complex. Based on these structures, we propose a model of the molecular mechanism of assembly and packaging in the life cycle of the PRD1 virus.
Retrovirus assembly is driven by polymerization of the Gag polyprotein as nascent virions bud from host cells. Gag is then processed proteolytically, releasing the capsid protein (CA) to assemble de novo inside maturing virions. CA has N-terminal and C-terminal domains (NTDs and CTDs, respectively) whose folds are conserved, although their sequences are divergent except in the 20-residue major homology region (MHR) in the CTD. The MHR is thought to play an important role in assembly, and some mutations affecting it, including the F167Y substitution, are lethal. A temperature-sensitive second-site suppressor mutation in the NTD, A38V, restores infectivity. We have used cryoelectron tomography to investigate the morphotypes of this double mutant. Virions produced at the nonpermissive temperature do not assemble capsids, although Gag is processed normally; moreover, they are more variable in size than the wild type and have fewer glycoprotein spikes. At the permissive temperature, virions are similar in size and spike content as in the wild type and capsid assembly is restored, albeit with altered polymorphisms. The mutation F167Y-A38V (referred to as FY/AV in this paper) produces fewer tubular capsids than wild type and more irregular polyhedra, which tend to be larger than in the wild type, containing ∼30% more CA subunits. It follows that FY/AV CA assembles more efficiently in situ than in the wild type and has a lower critical concentration, reflecting altered nucleation properties. However, its infectivity is lower than that of the wild type, due to a 4-fold-lower budding efficiency. We conclude that the wild-type CA protein sequence represents an evolutionary compromise between competing requirements for optimization of Gag assembly (of the immature virion) and CA assembly (in the maturing virion).
Papillomaviruses are a family of nonenveloped DNA viruses that infect the skin or mucosa of their vertebrate hosts. The viral life cycle is closely tied to the differentiation of infected keratinocytes. Papillomavirus virions are released into the environment through a process known as desquamation, in which keratinocytes lose structural integrity prior to being shed from the surface of the skin. During this process, virions are exposed to an increasingly oxidative environment, leading to their stabilization through the formation of disulfide cross-links between neighboring molecules of the major capsid protein, L1. We used time-lapse cryo-electron microscopy and image analysis to study the maturation of HPV16 capsids assembled in mammalian cells and exposed to an oxidizing environment after cell lysis. Initially, the virion is a loosely connected procapsid that, under in vitro conditions, condenses over several hours into the more familiar 60-nm-diameter papillomavirus capsid. In this process, the procapsid shrinks by ~5% in diameter, its pentameric capsomers change in structure (most markedly in the axial region), and the interaction surfaces between adjacent capsomers are consolidated. A C175S mutant that cannot achieve normal inter-L1 disulfide cross-links shows maturation-related shrinkage but does not achieve the fully condensed 60-nm form. Pseudoatomic modeling based on a 9-Å resolution reconstruction of fully mature capsids revealed C-terminal disulfide-stabilized “suspended bridges” that form intercapsomeric cross-links. The data suggest a model in which procapsids exist in a range of dynamic intermediates that can be locked into increasingly mature configurations by disulfide cross-linking, possibly through a Brownian ratchet mechanism.
Human papillomaviruses (HPVs) cause nearly all cases of cervical cancer, a major fraction of cancers of the penis, vagina/vulva, anus, and tonsils, and genital and nongenital warts. HPV types associated with a high risk of cancer, such as HPV16, are generally transmitted via sexual contact. The nonenveloped virion of HPVs shows a high degree of stability, allowing the virus to persist in an infectious form in environmental fomites. In this study, we used cryo-electron microscopy to elucidate the structure of the HPV16 capsid at different stages of maturation. The fully mature capsid adopts a rigid, highly regular structure stabilized by intermolecular disulfide bonds. The availability of a pseudoatomic model of the fully mature HPV16 virion should help guide understanding of antibody responses elicited by HPV capsid-based vaccines.
Heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) is incorporated within the membrane of primate lentiviral virions. Here we demonstrate that Hsp70 is also incorporated into oncoretroviral virions and that it remains associated with membrane-stripped human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) virion cores. To determine if Hsp70 promotes virion infectivity, we attempted to generate Hsp70-deficient virions with gag deletion mutations, Hsp70 transdominant mutants, or RNA interference, but these efforts were confounded, largely because they disrupt virion assembly. Given that polypeptide substrates are bound and released by Hsp70 in an ATP-hydrolytic reaction cycle, we supposed that incubation of HIV-1 virions with ATP would perturb Hsp70 interaction with substrates in the virion and thereby decrease infectivity. Treatment with ATP or ADP had no observable effect, but ATPγS and GTPγS, nucleotide triphosphate analogues resistant to Hsp70 hydrolysis, dramatically reduced the infectivity of HIV-1 and murine leukemia virus virions. ATPγS-treated virions were competent for fusion with susceptible target cells, but viral cDNA synthesis was inhibited to an extent that correlated with the magnitude of decrease in infectivity. Intravirion reverse transcription by HIV-1, simian immunodeficiency virus, or murine leukemia virus was also inhibited by ATPγS. The effects of ATPγS on HIV-1 reverse transcription appeared to be indirect, resulting from disruption of virion core morphology that was evident by transmission electron microscopy. Consistent with effects on capsid conformation, ATPγS-treated viruslike particles failed to saturate host antiviral restriction activity. Our observations support a model in which the catalytic activity of virion-associated Hsp70 is required to maintain structural integrity of the virion core.
The L1 major capsid protein of human papillomavirus type 11 (HPV-11) was expressed in Escherichia coli, and the soluble recombinant protein was purified to near homogeneity. The recombinant L1 protein bound DNA as determined by the Southwestern assay method, and recombinant mutant L1 proteins localized the DNA-binding domain to the carboxy-terminal 11 amino acids of L1. Trypsin digestion of the full-length L1 protein yielded a discrete 42-kDa product (trpL1), determined by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, resulting from cleavage at R415, 86 amino acids from the L1 carboxy terminus. Sucrose gradient sedimentation analysis demonstrated that trpL1 sedimented at 11S, while L1 proteins with amino-terminal deletions of 29 and 61 residues sedimented at 4S. Electron microscopy showed that the full-length L1 protein appeared as pentameric capsomeres which self-assembled into capsid-like particles. The trpL1 protein also had a pentameric morphology but was unable to assemble further. In an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, the trpL1 and L1 capsids reacted indistinguishably from virus-like particles purified after expression of HPV-11 L1 in insect cells. The carboxy terminus of L1 therefore constitutes the interpentamer linker arm responsible for HPV-11 capsid formation, much like the carboxy-terminal domain of the polyomavirus VP1 protein. The trypsin susceptibility of HPV-11 L1 capsids suggests a possible mechanism for virion disassembly.
Adeno-associated virus (AAV) is gaining momentum as a gene therapy vector for human applications. However, there remain impediments to the development of this virus as a vector. One of these is the incomplete understanding of the biology of the virus, including nuclear targeting of the incoming virion during initial infection, as well as assembly of progeny virions from structural components in the nucleus. Toward this end, we have identified four basic regions (BR) on the AAV2 capsid that represent possible nuclear localization sequence (NLS) motifs. Mutagenesis of BR1 (120QAKKRVL126) and BR2 (140PGKKRPV146) had minor effects on viral infectivity (∼4- and ∼10-fold, respectively), whereas BR3 (166PARKRLN172) and BR4 (307RPKRLN312) were found to be essential for infectivity and virion assembly, respectively. Mutagenesis of BR3, which is located in Vp1 and Vp2 capsid proteins, does not interfere with viral production or trafficking of intact AAV capsids to the nuclear periphery but does inhibit transfer of encapsidated DNA into the nucleus. Substitution of the canine parvovirus NLS rescued the BR3 mutant to wild-type (wt) levels, supporting the role of an AAV NLS motif. In addition, rAAV2 containing a mutant form of BR3 in Vp1 and a wt BR3 in Vp2 was found to be infectious, suggesting that the function of BR3 is redundant between Vp1 and Vp2 and that Vp2 may play a role in infectivity. Mutagenesis of BR4 was found to inhibit virion assembly in the nucleus of transfected cells. This affect was not completely due to the inefficient nuclear import of capsid subunits based on Western blot analysis. In fact, aberrant capsid foci were observed in the cytoplasm of transfected cells, compared to the wild type, suggesting a defect in early viral assembly or trafficking. Using three-dimensional structural analysis, the lysine- and arginine-to-asparagine change disrupts hydrogen bonding between these basic residues and adjacent beta strand glutamine residues that may prevent assembly of intact virions. Taken together, these data support that the BR4 domain is essential for virion assembly. Each BR was also found to be conserved in serotypes 1 to 11, suggesting that these regions are significant and function similarly in each serotype. This study establishes the importance of two BR motifs on the AAV2 capsid that are essential for infectivity and virion assembly.
The surface of polyomavirus virions is composed of pentameric knobs of the major capsid protein, VP1. In previously studied polyomavirus species, such as SV40, two interior capsid proteins, VP2 and VP3, emerge from the virion to play important roles during the infectious entry process. Translation of the VP3 protein initiates at a highly conserved Met-Ala-Leu motif within the VP2 open reading frame. Phylogenetic analyses indicate that Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV or MCPyV) is a member of a divergent clade of polyomaviruses that lack the conserved VP3 N-terminal motif. Consistent with this observation, we show that VP3 is not detectable in MCV-infected cells, VP3 is not found in native MCV virions, and mutation of possible alternative VP3-initiating methionine codons did not significantly affect MCV infectivity in culture. In contrast, VP2 knockout resulted in a >100-fold decrease in native MCV infectivity, despite normal virion assembly, viral DNA packaging, and cell attachment. Although pseudovirus-based experiments confirmed that VP2 plays an essential role for infection of some cell lines, other cell lines were readily transduced by pseudovirions lacking VP2. In cell lines where VP2 was needed for efficient infectious entry, the presence of a conserved myristoyl modification on the N-terminus of VP2 was important for its function. The results show that a single minor capsid protein, VP2, facilitates a post-attachment stage of MCV infectious entry into some, but not all, cell types.
Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCV or MCPyV) is a recently discovered member of the viral family Polyomaviridae. The virus plays a causal role in Merkel cell carcinoma, a highly lethal form of skin cancer. MCV encodes a major capsid protein, VP1, which forms the non-enveloped surface of the virion. Other polyomavirus species encode two minor capsid proteins, VP2 and VP3, which associate with the inner surface of the capsid and facilitate infectious entry. In this report we show that MCV does not have a VP3 minor capsid protein. Sequence analyses suggest that more than a quarter of known polyomavirus species share MCV's lack of a VP3 protein. In contrast to VP3, VP2-knockout MCV mutants displayed dramatically reduced infectivity. Consistent with native virion findings, MCV pseudovirions lacking VP2 or carrying mutations in the VP2 myristoylation motif displayed reduced infectivity on several cell lines. Puzzlingly, MCV pseudoviruses lacking VP2 successfully transduced other cell lines with high efficiency. Taken together, the data show that the lone MCV minor capsid protein, VP2, plays an important role during infectious entry into some cell types, but is dispensable for entry into other cell types.
Virus assembly represents one of the last steps in the retrovirus life cycle. During this process, Gag polyproteins assemble at specific sites within the cell to form viral capsids and induce membrane extrusion (viral budding) either as assembly progresses (type C virus) or following formation of a complete capsid (type B and type D viruses). Finally, the membrane must undergo a fusion event to pinch off the particle in order to release a complete enveloped virion. Structural elements within the MA region of the Gag polyprotein define the route taken to the plasma membrane and direct the process of virus budding. Results presented here suggest that a distinct region of Gag is necessary for virus release. The pp24 and pp16 proteins of the type D retrovirus Mason-Pfizer monkey virus (M-PMV) are phosphoproteins that are encoded in the gag gene of the virus. The pp16 protein is a C-terminally located cleavage product of pp24 and contains a proline-rich motif (PPPY) that is conserved among the Gag proteins of a wide variety of retroviruses. By performing a functional analysis of this coding region with deletion mutants, we have shown that the pp16 protein is dispensable for capsid assembly but essential for virion release. Moreover, additional experiments indicated that the virus release function of pp16 was abolished by the deletion of only the PPPY motif and could be restored when this motif alone was reinserted into a Gag polyprotein lacking the entire pp16 domain. Single-amino-acid substitutions for any of the residues within this motif confer a similar virion release-defective phenotype. It is unlikely that the function of the proline-rich motif is simply to inhibit premature activation of protease, since the PPPY deletion blocked virion release in the context of a protease-defective provirus. These results demonstrate that in type D retroviruses a PPPY motif plays a key role in a late stage of virus budding that is independent of and occurs prior to virion maturation.
Up to 6 x 10(7) PFU of infectious virions of the double-stranded DNA bacteriophage phi 29 per ml were assembled in vitro, with 11 proteins derived from cloned genes and nucleic acids synthesized separately. The genomic DNA-gp3 protein conjugate was efficiently packaged into a purified recombinant procapsid with the aid of a small viral RNA (pRNA) transcript, a DNA-packaging ATPase (gp16), and ATP. The DNA-filled capsids were subsequently converted into infectious virions after the addition of four more recombinant proteins for neck and tail assembly. Electron microscopy and genome restriction mapping confirmed the identity of the infectious phi 29 virions synthesized in this system. A nonstructural protein, gp13, was indispensable for the assembly of infectious virions. The overproduced tail protein gp9 was present in solution in mostly dimeric form and was purified to homogeneity. The purified gp9 was biologically active for in vitro phi 29 assembly. Higher-order concentration dependence of in vitro phi 29 assembly on gp9 suggests that a complete tail did not form before attaching to the DNA-filled capsid, a result contrary to earlier findings for phages T4 and lambda. The work described here constitutes an extremely sensitive assay system for the analysis of components in phi 29 assembly and dissection of functional domains of structural components, enzymes, and pRNA (C.-S. Lee and P. Guo, Virology 202:1039-1042, 1995). Efficient packaging of foreign DNA in vitro and synthesis of viral particles from recombinant proteins facilitate the development of phi 29 as an in vivo gene delivery system. The finding that purified tail protein was able to incorporate into infectious virions might allow the construction of chimeric phi 29 carrying a tail fused to ligands for specific receptor of human cells.
Assembly of poliovirus virions requires proteolytic cleavage of the P1 capsid precursor polyprotein between two separate glutamine-glycine (QG) amino acid pairs by the viral protease 3CD. In this study, we have investigated the effects on P1 polyprotein processing and subsequent assembly of processed capsid proteins caused by substitution of the glycine residue at the individual QG cleavage sites with valine (QG-->QV). P1 cDNAs encoding the valine substitutions were created by site-directed mutagenesis and were recombined into wild-type vaccinia virus to generate recombinant vaccinia viruses which expressed the mutant P1 precursors. The recombinant vaccinia virus-expressed mutant P1 polyproteins were analyzed for proteolytic processing defects in cells coinfected with a recombinant vaccinia virus (VVP3) that expresses the poliovirus 3CD protease and for processing and assembly defects by using a trans complementation system in which P1-expressing recombinant vaccinia viruses provide capsid precursor to a defective poliovirus genome that does not express functional capsid proteins (D. C. Ansardi, D. C. Porter, and C. D. Morrow, J. Virol. 67:3684-3690, 1993). The QV-substituted precursors were proteolytically processed at the altered sites both in cells coinfected with VVP3 and in cells coinfected with defective poliovirus, although the kinetics of cleavage at the altered sites were slower than those of cleavage at the wild-type QG site in the precursor. Completely processed capsid proteins VP0, VP3, and VP1 derived from the mutant precursor containing a valine at the amino terminus of VP3 (VP3-G001V) were unstable and failed to assemble stable subviral structures in cells coinfected with defective poliovirus. In contrast, capsid proteins derived from the P1 precursor with a valine substitution at the amino terminus of VP1 (VP1-G001V) assembled empty capsid particles but were deficient in assembling RNA-containing virions. The assembly characteristics of the VP1-G001V mutant were compared with those of a previously described VP3-VP1 cleavage site mutant (K. Kirkegaard and B. Nelsen, J. Virol. 64:185-194, 1990) which contained a deletion of the first four amino-terminal residues of VP1 (VP1-delta 1-4) and which was reconstructed for our studies into the recombinant vaccinia virus system. Complete proteolytic processing of the VP1-delta 1-4 precursor also occurred more slowly than complete cleavage of the wild-type precursor, and formation of virions was delayed; however, capsid proteins derived from the VP1-G001V mutant assembled RNA-containing virions less efficiently than those derived from the VP1-delta 1-4 precursor.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)
We previously reported that the expression of rotavirus phenotypes by reassortants was affected by recipient genetic background and proposed specific interactions between the outer capsid proteins VP4 and VP7 as the basis for the phenotypic effects (D. Chen, J. W. Burns, M. K. Estes, and R. F. Ramig, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 86:3743-3747, 1989). A neutralizing, cross-reactive VP4-specific monoclonal antibody (MAb), 2G4, was used to probe the protein-protein interactions. The VP4 specificity of 2G4 was confirmed by immunoblot analysis. MAb 2G4 reacted with both standard (SA11-C13) and variant rotavirus SA11 (SA11-4F) but did not react with bovine rotavirus B223 as determined by plaque reduction neutralization (PRN) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). When a panel of SA11-4F/B223 and SA11-Cl3/B223 reassortants in purified or crude lysate form that had been grown in the presence or absence of trypsin was analyzed with MAb 2G4 by PRN and ELISA, the results with some reassortants were unexpected. That is, MAb 2G4 reacted with VP4 of SA11 parental origin (4F or C13) when it was assembled into capsids with the homologous SA11 VP7 but failed to react with VP4 of SA11 assembled into capsids with heterologous B223 VP7. Conversely, MAb 2G4 failed to react with VP4 of B223 parental origin when it was assembled into capsids with homologous B223 VP7 but did react with B223 VP4 assembled into capsids with the heterologous SA11 VP7. Similar reactivity was observed when 2G4 was used to immunoprecipitate purified double-shelled virions. When soluble unassembled viral proteins were analyzed by ELISA, the 2G4 reactive pattern was as predicted from the parental origin of VP4. That is, 2G4 reacted with the soluble VP4 of reassortants having VP4 from SA11-Cl3 or SA11-4F and failed to react with VP4 of B223 origin, regardless of the origin of VP7. PRN and ELISA results obtained with nonglycosylated viruses revealed that the unexpected reactivity of 2G4 with virus particles was not the result of differential glycosylation of VP7 and epitope masking. These results indicate that the 2G4 epitope existed in the soluble form of VP4 encoded by SA11-Cl3 or SA11-4F but not in soluble B223 VP4. On the other hand, in assembled virions, the presentation of the 2G4 epitope on VP4 was unexpected in some reassortants and was affected by the specific interactions between VP4 and VP7 of heterologous parental origin.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a single-stranded RNA virus in the Paramyxoviridae family that assembles into filamentous structures at the apical surface of polarized epithelial cells. These filaments contain viral genomic RNA and structural proteins, including the fusion (F) protein, matrix (M) protein, nucleoprotein (N), and phosphoprotein (P), while excluding F-actin. It is known that the F protein cytoplasmic tail (FCT) is necessary for filament formation, but the mechanism by which the FCT mediates assembly into filaments is not clear. We hypothesized that the FCT is necessary for interactions with other viral proteins in order to form filaments. In order to test this idea, we expressed the F protein with cytoplasmic tail (CT) truncations or specific point mutations and determined the abilities of these variant F proteins to form filaments independent of viral infection when coexpressed with M, N, and P. Deletion of the terminal three FCT residues (amino acids Phe-Ser-Asn) or mutation of the Phe residue resulted in a loss of filament formation but did not affect F-protein expression or trafficking to the cell surface. Filament formation could be restored by addition of residues Phe-Ser-Asn to an FCT deletion mutant and was unaffected by mutations to Ser or Asn residues. Second, deletion of residues Phe-Ser-Asn or mutation of the Phe residue resulted in a loss of M, N, and P incorporation into virus-like particles. These data suggest that a C-terminal Phe residue in the FCT mediates assembly through incorporation of internal virion proteins into virus filaments at the cell surface.
Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a leading cause of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in infants and the elderly worldwide. There is no licensed RSV vaccine and only limited therapeutics for use in infected patients. Many aspects of the RSV life cycle have been studied, but the mechanisms that drive RSV assembly at the cell surface are not well understood. This study provides evidence that a specific residue in the RSV fusion protein cytoplasmic tail coordinates assembly into viral filaments by mediating the incorporation of internal virion proteins. Understanding the mechanisms that drive RSV assembly could lead to targeted development of novel antiviral drugs. Moreover, since RSV exits infected cells in an ESCRT (endosomal sorting complexes required for transport)-independent manner, these studies may contribute new knowledge about a general strategy by which ESCRT-independent viruses mediate outward bud formation using viral protein-mediated mechanisms during assembly and budding.