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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Aphid transmission of poleroviruses is highly specific, but the viral determinants governing this specificity are unknown. We used a gene exchange strategy between two poleroviruses with different vectors, Beet western yellows virus (BWYV) and Cucurbit aphid-borne yellows virus (CABYV), to analyze the role of the major and minor capsid proteins in vector specificity. Virus recombinants obtained by exchanging the sequence of the readthrough domain (RTD) between the two viruses replicated in plant protoplasts and in whole plants. The hybrid readthrough protein of chimeric viruses was incorporated into virions. Aphid transmission experiments using infected plants or purified virions revealed that vector specificity is driven by the nature of the RTD. BWYV and CABYV have specific intestinal sites in the vectors for endocytosis: the midgut for BWYV and both midgut and hindgut for CABYV. Localization of hybrid virions in aphids by transmission electron microscopy revealed that gut tropism is also determined by the viral origin of the RTD.
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
The retroviral Gag polyprotein is necessary and sufficient for assembly and budding of viral particles. However, the exact inter- and intramolecular interactions of the Gag polyproteins during this process are not known. To locate functional domains within Gag, we generated chimeric proviruses between human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and murine leukemia virus (MuLV). In these chimeric proviruses, the matrix or capsid proteins of MuLV were precisely replaced with the matrix or capsid proteins of HIV-1. Although the chimeric proviruses were unable to efficiently assemble into mature viral particles by themselves, coexpression of wild-type MuLV Gag rescued the HIV proteins into virions. The specificity of the rescue of HIV proteins into MuLV virions shows that specific interactions involving homologous matrix or capsid regions of Gag are necessary for retroviral particle formation.
Cucurbit aphid-borne yellows virus (CABYV) is a polerovirus (Luteoviridae family) with a capsid composed of the major coat protein and a minor component referred to as the readthrough protein (RT). Two forms of the RT were reported: a full-length protein of 74 kDa detected in infected plants and a truncated form of 55 kDa (RT*) incorporated into virions. Both forms were detected in CABYV-infected plants. To clarify the specific roles of each protein in the viral cycle, we generated by deletion a polerovirus mutant able to synthesize only the RT* which is incorporated into the particle. This mutant was unable to move systemically from inoculated leaves inferring that the C-terminal half of the RT is required for efficient long-distance transport of CABYV. Among a collection of CABYV mutants bearing point mutations in the central domain of the RT, we obtained a mutant impaired in the correct processing of the RT which does not produce the RT*. This mutant accumulated very poorly in upper non-inoculated leaves, suggesting that the RT* has a functional role in long-distance movement of CABYV. Taken together, these results infer that both RT proteins are required for an efficient CABYV movement.
The mature fullerene cone-shaped capsid of the human immunodeficiency virus 1 is composed of about 1,500 copies of the capsid protein (CA). The CA is 231 residues long, and consists of two distinct structural domains, the N-terminal domain and the C-terminal domain (CTD), joined by a flexible linker. The wild type CA exhibits monomer–dimer equilibrium in solution through the CTD–CTD dimerization. This CTD–CTD interaction, together with other intermolecular interdomain interactions, plays significant roles during the assembly of the mature capsid. In addition, CA–CA interactions also play a role in the assembly of the immature virion. The CA also interacts with some host cell proteins within the viral replication cycle. Thus, the capsid protein has been of significant interest as a target for designing inhibitors of assembly of immature virions and mature capsids and inhibitors of its interactions with host cell proteins. However, the equilibrium exhibited by the wild-type CA protein between the monomeric and dimeric states, along with the inherent flexibility from the interdomain linker, have hindered attempts at structural determination by solution NMR and X-ray crystallography methods. In this study, we have utilized a CA protein with W184A and M185A mutations that abolish the dimerization of CA protein as well as its infectivity, but preserve most of the remaining properties of the wild type CA. We have determined the detailed solution structure of the monomeric W184A/M185A-CA protein using 3D-NMR spectroscopy. Here, we present the detailed sequence-specific NMR assignments for this protein.
HIV-1; Capsid protein; Monomeric mutant; 3D-NMR; Assignments
Cell-to-cell movement of beet yellows closterovirus requires four structural proteins and a 6-kDa protein (p6) that is a conventional, nonstructural movement protein. Here we demonstrate that either virus infection or p6 overexpression results in association of p6 with the rough endoplasmic reticulum. The p6 protein possesses a single-span, transmembrane, N-terminal domain and a hydrophilic, C-terminal domain that is localized on the cytoplasmic face of the endoplasmic reticulum. In the infected cells, p6 forms a disulfide bridge via a cysteine residue located near the protein's N terminus. Mutagenic analyses indicated that each of the p6 domains, as well as protein dimerization, is essential for p6 function in virus movement.
Point mutations were introduced into the major capsid protein (P3) of cloned infectious cDNA of the polerovirus beet western yellows virus (BWYV) by manipulation of cloned infectious cDNA. Seven mutations targeted sites on the S domain predicted to lie on the capsid surface. An eighth mutation eliminated two arginine residues in the R domain, which is thought to extend into the capsid interior. The effects of the mutations on virus capsid formation, virus accumulation in protoplasts and plants, and aphid transmission were tested. All of the mutants replicated in protoplasts. The S-domain mutant W166R failed to protect viral RNA from RNase attack, suggesting that this particular mutation interfered with stable capsid formation. The R-domain mutant R7A/R8A protected ∼90% of the viral RNA strand from RNase, suggesting that lower positive-charge density in the mutant capsid interior interfered with stable packaging of the complete strand into virions. Neither of these mutants systemically infected plants. The six remaining mutants properly packaged viral RNA and could invade Nicotiana clevelandii systemically following agroinfection. Mutant Q121E/N122D was poorly transmitted by aphids, implicating one or both targeted residues in virus-vector interactions. Successful transmission of mutant D172N was accompanied either by reversion to the wild type or by appearance of a second-site mutation, N137D. This finding indicates that D172 is also important for transmission but that the D172N transmission defect can be compensated for by a “reverse” substitution at another site. The results have been used to evaluate possible structural models for the BWYV capsid.
The mature capsid protein C of flaviviruses is generated through the proteolytic cleavage of the precursor polyprotein by the viral NS2B/3 protease. This cleavage is a prerequisite for the subsequent processing of the viral surface protein prM, and the concerted progression of these events plays a key role in the process of the assembly of infectious virions. Protein C of tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) contains two amino acid sequence motifs within the carboxy-terminal region that match the canonical NS2B/3 recognition site. Site-specific mutagenesis in the context of the full-length TBEV genome was used to investigate the in vivo cleavage specificity of the viral protease in this functionally important domain. The results indicate that the downstream site is necessary and sufficient for efficient cleavage and virion assembly; in contrast, the upstream site is dispensable and placed in a structural context that renders it largely inaccessible to the viral protease. Mutants with impaired C-prM cleavage generally exhibited a significantly increased cytotoxicity. In spite of the clear preference of the protease for only one of the two naturally occurring motifs, the enzyme was unexpectedly tolerant to both the presence of a noncanonical threonine residue at position P2 and the position of cleavage relative to the adjacent internal prM signal sequence. The insertion of three amino acid residues downstream of the cleavage site did not change the viral phenotype. Thus, this study further illuminates the specificity of the TBEV protease and reveals that the carboxy-terminal region of protein C has a remarkable functional flexibility in its role in the assembly of infectious virions.
Beet black scorch virus (BBSV) is a small single-stranded, positive-sense RNA plant virus belonging to the genus Necrovirus, family Tombusviridae. Its capsid protein (CP) contains a 13 amino acid long basic region at the N-terminus, rich in arginine and lysine residues, which is thought to interact with viral RNA to initiate virion assembly.
In the current study, a series of BBSV mutants containing amino acid substitutions as well as deletions within the N-terminal region were generated and examined for their effects on viral RNA replication, virion assembly, and long distance spread in protoplasts and whole host plants of BBSV. The RNA-binding activities of the mutated CPs were also evaluated in vitro. These experiments allowed us to identify two key basic amino acid residues in this region that are responsible for initiating virus assembly through RNA-binding. Proper assembly of BBSV particles is in turn needed for efficient viral systemic movement.
We have identified two basic amino acid residues near the N-terminus of the BBSV CP that bind viral RNA with high affinity to initiate virion assembly. We further provide evidence showing that systemic spread of BBSV in infected plants requires intact virions. This study represents the first in-depth investigation of the role of basic amino acid residues within the N-terminus of a necroviral CP.
Beet black scorch virus; Capsid protein; RNA binding; Virion assembly; Viral systemic movement
Two models describing how alphaherpesviruses exit neurons differ with respect to whether nucleocapsids and envelope glycoproteins travel toward axon termini separately or as assembled enveloped virions. Recently, a pseudorabies virus glycoprotein D (gD)-green fluorescent protein fusion was found to colocalize with viral capsids, supporting anterograde transport of enveloped virions. Previous antibody staining experiments demonstrated that herpes simplex virus (HSV) glycoproteins and capsids are separately transported in axons. Here, we generated an HSV expressing a gD-yellow fluorescent protein (YFP) fusion and found that gD-YFP and capsids were transported separately in neuronal axons. Anti-gD antibodies colocalized with gD-YFP, indicating that gD-YFP behaves like wild-type HSV gD.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) capsids are composed of 72 pentamers of the major
capsid protein L1, and an unknown number of L2 minor capsid proteins. An
N-terminal “external loop” of L2 contains cross-neutralizing
epitopes, and native HPV16 virions extracted from 20-day-old organotypic
tissues are neutralized by anti-HPV16 L2 antibodies but virus from
10-day-old cultures are not, suggesting that L2 epitopes are more exposed in
mature, 20-day virions. This current study was undertaken to determine
whether cross-neutralization of other HPV types is similarly dependent on
time of harvest and to screen for the most effective cross-neutralizing
epitope in native virions.
Methodology and Principal Findings
Neutralization assays support that although HPV16 L2 epitopes were only
exposed in 20-day virions, HPV31 or HPV18 epitopes behaved differently.
Instead, HPV31 and HPV18 L2 epitopes were exposed in 10-day virions and
remained so in 20-day virions. In contrast, presumably due to sequence
divergence, HPV45 was not cross-neutralized by any of the anti-HPV16 L2
antibodies. We found that the most effective cross-neutralizing antibody was
a polyclonal antibody named anti-P56/75 #1, which was raised against a
peptide consisting of highly conserved HPV16 L2 amino acids 56 to 75.
Conclusions and Significance
This is the first study to determine the susceptibility of multiple, native
high-risk HPV types to neutralization by L2 antibodies. Multiple anti-L2
antibodies were able to cross-neutralize HPV16, HPV31, and HPV18. Only
neutralization of HPV16 depended on the time of tissue harvest. These data
should inform attempts to produce a second-generation, L2-based vaccine.
The unique region of the capsid protein VP1 (VP1u) of human parvovirus B19 (B19) elicits a dominant immune response and has a phospholipase A2 (PLA2) activity, which is necessary for the infection. In contrast to the rest of the parvoviruses, the VP1u of B19 is thought to occupy an external position in the virion, making this region a promising candidate for vaccine development. By using a monoclonal antibody against the most-N-terminal portion of VP1u, we revealed that this region rich in neutralizing epitopes is not accessible in native capsids. However, exposure of capsids to increasing temperatures or low pH led to its progressive accessibility without particle disassembly. Although unable to bind free virus or to block virus attachment to the cell, the anti-VP1u antibody was neutralizing, suggesting that the exposure of the epitope and the subsequent virus neutralization occur only after receptor attachment. The measurement of the VP1u-associated PLA2 activity of B19 capsids revealed that this region is also internal but becomes exposed in heat- and in low-pH-treated particles. In sharp contrast to native virions, the VP1u of baculovirus-derived B19 capsids was readily accessible in the absence of any treatment. These results indicate that stretches of VP1u of native B19 capsids harboring neutralizing epitopes and essential functional motifs are not external to the capsid. However, a conformational change renders these regions accessible and triggers the PLA2 potential of the virus. The results also emphasize major differences in the VP1u conformation between natural and recombinant particles.
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).
Following budding, HIV-1 virions undergo a maturation process where the gag polyprotein in the immature virus is cleaved by the viral protease and rearranges to form the mature, infectious virion. Despite the wealth of structures of isolated capsid domains and an in vitro assembled mature lattice, models of the immature lattice do not provide an unambiguous model of capsid molecule orientation and no structural information is available for the capsid maturation pathway. Here we have applied hydrogen/deuterium exchange mass spectrometry to immature, mature and mutant gag particles (CA5) blocked at the final gag cleavage event to examine the molecular basis of capsid assembly and maturation. Capsid packing arrangements were very similar for all virions while immature and CA5 virions contained an additional intermolecular interaction at the hexameric, three-fold axis. Additionally, the N-terminal β-hairpin was observed to form as a result of capsid-SP1 cleavage rather than driving maturation as previously postulated.
Assembly; Capsid; HIV-1; Mass Spectrometry; Maturation
We previously described the phenotype associated with three alanine substitution mutations in conserved residues (Trp23, Phe40, and Asp51) in the N-terminal domain of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 capsid protein (CA). All of the mutants produce noninfectious virions that lack conical cores and, despite having a functional reverse transcriptase (RT), are unable to initiate reverse transcription in vivo. Here, we have focused on elucidating the mechanism by which these CA mutations disrupt virus infectivity. We also report that cyclophilin A packaging is severely reduced in W23A and F40A virions, even though these residues are distant from the cyclophilin A binding loop. To correlate loss of infectivity with a possible defect in an early event preceding reverse transcription, we modeled disassembly by generating viral cores from particles treated with mild nonionic detergent; cores were isolated by sedimentation in sucrose density gradients. In general, fractions containing mutant cores exhibited a normal protein profile. However, there were two striking differences from the wild-type pattern: mutant core fractions displayed a marked deficiency in RT protein and enzymatic activity (<5% of total RT in gradient fractions) and a substantial increase in the retention of CA. The high level of core-associated CA suggests that mutant cores may be unable to undergo proper disassembly. Thus, taken together with the almost complete absence of RT in mutant cores, these findings can account for the failure of the three CA mutants to synthesize viral DNA following virus entry into cells.
The three-dimensional structures of the viral capsid of three AAV serotypes have previously been determined by X-ray crystallography or cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM). These studies of AAV and similar studies of autonomous parvoviruses have yielded important structural information of the virions in a low-energy conformation. However, there is little information on the structural properties of AAV virions in solution under physiological conditions. We demonstrate that proteolytic digestion of AAV2 virions with trypsin results in cleavage at a specific site on the capsid surface while the capsid remains intact. The products of digestion were mapped using unique antibodies, protein sequencing, mass spectroscopy, and 3D structure modeling to a region on a surface loop that is common to all three AAV2 structural proteins. Empty AAV2 capsids could be distinguished from full (DNA-containing) capsids, having an increased susceptibility of VP2 to trypsin, and more rapid digestion by chymotrypsin. Proteolytic analysis utilizing trypsin or chymotrypsin was also capable of distinguishing AAV2 from AAV1 and AAV5, as seen by differential susceptibility and unique fragment patterns. These data demonstrate a novel approach for studying the structure of AAV capsids in solution, and should be valuable in the testing and engineering of AAV vectors for gene transfer.
adeno-associated virus; structure; capsid; proteolysis; serotype
Functional analysis of Hepatitis B virus (HBV) core particles has associated a number of biological roles with the C-terminus of the capsid protein. One set of functions require the C-terminus to be on the exterior of the capsid, while others place this domain on the interior. According to the crystal structure of the capsid, this segment is strictly internal to the capsid shell and buried at a protein-protein interface. Using kinetic hydrolysis, a form of protease digestion assayed by SDS-PAGE and mass spectrometry, the structurally and biologically important C-terminal region of HBV capsid protein assembly domain (Cp149, residues 1-149) has been shown to be dynamic in both dimer and capsid forms. HBV is an enveloped virus with a T=4 icosahedral core that is composed of 120 copies of a homodimer capsid protein. Free dimer and assembled capsid forms of the protein are readily hydrolyzed by trypsin and thermolysin, around residues 127-128, indicating that this region is dynamic and exposed to the capsid surface. The measured conformational equilibria have an opposite temperature dependence between free dimer and assembled capsid. This work helps to explain the previously described allosteric regulation of assembly and functional properties of a buried domain. These observations make a critical connection between structure, dynamics, and function: made possible by the first quantitative measurements of conformational equilibria and rates of conversion between protein conformers for a megadalton complex.