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1.  Genes Required for Replication of the 15.5-Kilobase RNA Genome of a Plant Closterovirus 
Journal of Virology  1998;72(7):5870-5876.
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.
PMCID: PMC110390  PMID: 9621048
2.  The 64-Kilodalton Capsid Protein Homolog of Beet Yellows Virus Is Required for Assembly of Virion Tails 
Journal of Virology  2003;77(4):2377-2384.
The filamentous virion of the closterovirus Beet yellows virus (BYV) consists of a long body formed by the major capsid protein (CP) and a short tail composed of the minor capsid protein (CPm) and the virus-encoded Hsp70 homolog. By using nano-liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry and biochemical analyses, we show here that the BYV 64-kDa protein (p64) is the fourth integral component of BYV virions. The N-terminal domain of p64 is exposed at the virion surface and is accessible to antibodies and mild trypsin digestion. In contrast, the C-terminal domain is embedded in the virion and is inaccessible to antibodies or trypsin. The C-terminal domain of p64 is shown to be homologous to CP and CPm. Mutation of the signature motifs of capsid proteins of filamentous RNA viruses in p64 results in the formation of tailless virions, which are unable to move from cell to cell. These results reveal the dual function of p64 in tail assembly and BYV motility and support the concept of the virion tail as a specialized device for BYV cell-to-cell movement.
PMCID: PMC141117  PMID: 12551975
3.  Crinivirus replication and host interactions 
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.
PMCID: PMC3657685  PMID: 23730299
phloem-limited; plasmalemma deposit; whitefly vector; Crinivirus; quintuple gene block
4.  Functional Specialization and Evolution of Leader Proteinases in the Family Closteroviridae 
Journal of Virology  2001;75(24):12153-12160.
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.
PMCID: PMC116111  PMID: 11711606
5.  Beet yellows virus replicase and replicative compartments: parallels with other RNA viruses 
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).
PMCID: PMC3589766  PMID: 23508802
RNA virus replication; membrane vesicles; virus replication factory; endoplasmic reticulum modification; intracellular traffic
6.  Virion Tails of Beet Yellows Virus: Coordinated Assembly by Three Structural Proteins 
Virology  2006;359(1):220-226.
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.
PMCID: PMC1847569  PMID: 17027895
Virus assembly; helical virion; Closterovirus; Hsp70
7.  3'-coterminal subgenomic RNAs and putative cis-acting elements of Grapevine leafroll-associated virus 3 reveals 'unique' features of gene expression strategy in the genus Ampelovirus 
Virology Journal  2010;7:180.
The family Closteroviridae comprises genera with monopartite genomes, Closterovirus and Ampelovirus, and with bipartite and tripartite genomes, Crinivirus. By contrast to closteroviruses in the genera Closterovirus and Crinivirus, much less is known about the molecular biology of viruses in the genus Ampelovirus, although they cause serious diseases in agriculturally important perennial crops like grapevines, pineapple, cherries and plums.
The gene expression and cis-acting elements of Grapevine leafroll-associated virus 3 (GLRaV-3; genus Ampelovirus) was examined and compared to that of other members of the family Closteroviridae. Six putative 3'-coterminal subgenomic (sg) RNAs were abundantly present in grapevine (Vitis vinifera) infected with GLRaV-3. The sgRNAs for coat protein (CP), p21, p20A and p20B were confirmed using gene-specific riboprobes in Northern blot analysis. The 5'-termini of sgRNAs specific to CP, p21, p20A and p20B were mapped in the 18,498 nucleotide (nt) virus genome and their leader sequences determined to be 48, 23, 95 and 125 nt, respectively. No conserved motifs were found around the transcription start site or in the leader sequence of these sgRNAs. The predicted secondary structure analysis of sequences around the start site failed to reveal any conserved motifs among the four sgRNAs. The GLRaV-3 isolate from Washington had a 737 nt long 5' nontranslated region (NTR) with a tandem repeat of 65 nt sequence and differed in sequence and predicted secondary structure with a South Africa isolate. Comparison of the dissimilar sequences of the 5'NTRs did not reveal any common predicted structures. The 3'NTR was shorter and more conserved. The lack of similarity among the cis-acting elements of the diverse viruses in the family Closteroviridae is another measure of the complexity of their evolution.
The results indicate that transcription regulation of GLRaV-3 sgRNAs appears to be different from members of the genus Closterovirus. An analysis of the genome sequence confirmed that GLRaV-3 has an unusually long 5'NTR of 737 nt compared to other monopartite members of the family Closteroviridae, with distinct differences in the sequence and predicted secondary structure when compared to the corresponding region of the GLRaV-3 isolate from South Africa.
PMCID: PMC2922190  PMID: 20682046
8.  Leader Proteinase of Beet Yellows Virus Functions in Long-Distance Transport 
Journal of Virology  2003;77(5):2843-2849.
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.
PMCID: PMC149760  PMID: 12584307
9.  Subgenomic RNAs mediate expression of cistrons located internally on the genomic RNA of tobacco necrosis virus strain A. 
Journal of Virology  1992;66(11):6419-6428.
Upon infection of tobacco protoplasts, the genomic RNA of tobacco necrosis virus strain A (TNV-A) accumulates linearly in time. The accumulation patterns of the two subgenomic RNAs resemble those of endogenous mRNAs in that the peak levels are reached after several hours. The accumulation of the 1.3-kb subgenomic RNA is delayed by 1 h compared with that of the 1.6-kb subgenomic RNA, which illustrates the important role of the subgenomic RNAs in the regulation of TNV-A gene expression. The locations of the 5' nucleotides of the subgenomic RNAs reveal that the 5'-proximal cistrons of the 1.6- and 1.3-kb RNAs encode an 8-kDa protein from open reading frame (ORF) 3 and the coat protein from ORF 5, respectively. In a wheat germ translation system, a synthetic transcript resembling the 1.6-kb RNA expresses both ORFs 3 and 4. Moreover, the synthesis of the 6-kDa protein from ORF 4 depends on the translation efficiency of ORF 3, suggesting that in vivo, ORFs 3 and 4 are both expressed from the 1.6-kb RNA. The major in vitro translation product of TNV-A genomic RNA is the coat protein. We show that the region upstream of the coat protein promotes internal initiation of translation in vitro. However, this region is functionally inactive in vivo, suggesting that TNV-A genomic RNA is not important for coat protein synthesis in plants.
PMCID: PMC240134  PMID: 1404597
10.  Class VIII Myosins Are Required for Plasmodesmatal Localization of a Closterovirus Hsp70 Homolog▿  
Journal of Virology  2008;82(6):2836-2843.
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.
PMCID: PMC2258991  PMID: 18199648
11.  Interaction between Long-Distance Transport Factor and Hsp70-Related Movement Protein of Beet Yellows Virus 
Journal of Virology  2002;76(21):11003-11011.
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.
PMCID: PMC136651  PMID: 12368343
12.  The essential genome of a bacterium 
This study reports the essential Caulobacter genome at 8 bp resolution determined by saturated transposon mutagenesis and high-throughput sequencing. This strategy is applicable to full genome essentiality studies in a broad class of bacterial species.
The essential Caulobacter genome was determined at 8 bp resolution using hyper-saturated transposon mutagenesis coupled with high-throughput sequencing.Essential protein-coding sequences comprise 90% of the essential genome; the remaining 10% comprising essential non-coding RNA sequences, gene regulatory elements and essential genome replication features.Of the 3876 annotated open reading frames (ORFs), 480 (12.4%) were essential ORFs, 3240 (83.6%) were non-essential ORFs and 156 (4.0%) were ORFs that severely impacted fitness when mutated.The essential elements are preferentially positioned near the origin and terminus of the Caulobacter chromosome.This high-resolution strategy is applicable to high-throughput, full genome essentiality studies and large-scale genetic perturbation experiments in a broad class of bacterial species.
The regulatory events that control polar differentiation and cell-cycle progression in the bacterium Caulobacter crescentus are highly integrated, and they have to occur in the proper order (McAdams and Shapiro, 2011). Components of the core regulatory circuit are largely known. Full discovery of its essential genome, including non-coding, regulatory and coding elements, is a prerequisite for understanding the complete regulatory network of this bacterial cell. We have identified all the essential coding and non-coding elements of the Caulobacter chromosome using a hyper-saturated transposon mutagenesis strategy that is scalable and can be readily extended to obtain rapid and accurate identification of the essential genome elements of any sequenced bacterial species at a resolution of a few base pairs.
We engineered a Tn5 derivative transposon (Tn5Pxyl) that carries at one end an inducible outward pointing Pxyl promoter (Christen et al, 2010). We showed that this transposon construct inserts into the genome randomly where it can activate or disrupt transcription at the site of integration, depending on the insertion orientation. DNA from hundred of thousands of transposon insertion sites reading outward into flanking genomic regions was parallel PCR amplified and sequenced by Illumina paired-end sequencing to locate the insertion site in each mutant strain (Figure 1). A single sequencing run on DNA from a mutagenized cell population yielded 118 million raw sequencing reads. Of these, >90 million (>80%) read outward from the transposon element into adjacent genomic DNA regions and the insertion site could be mapped with single nucleotide resolution. This yielded the location and orientation of 428 735 independent transposon insertions in the 4-Mbp Caulobacter genome.
Within non-coding sequences of the Caulobacter genome, we detected 130 non-disruptable DNA segments between 90 and 393 bp long in addition to all essential promoter elements. Among 27 previously identified and validated sRNAs (Landt et al, 2008), three were contained within non-disruptable DNA segments and another three were partially disruptable, that is, insertions caused a notable growth defect. Two additional small RNAs found to be essential are the transfer-messenger RNA (tmRNA) and the ribozyme RNAseP (Landt et al, 2008). In addition to the 8 non-disruptable sRNAs, 29 out of the 130 intergenic essential non-coding sequences contained non-redundant tRNA genes; duplicated tRNA genes were non-essential. We also identified two non-disruptable DNA segments within the chromosomal origin of replication. Thus, we resolved essential non-coding RNAs, tRNAs and essential replication elements within the origin region of the chromosome. An additional 90 non-disruptable small genome elements of currently unknown function were identified. Eighteen of these are conserved in at least one closely related species. Only 2 could encode a protein of over 50 amino acids.
For each of the 3876 annotated open reading frames (ORFs), we analyzed the distribution, orientation, and genetic context of transposon insertions. There are 480 essential ORFs and 3240 non-essential ORFs. In addition, there were 156 ORFs that severely impacted fitness when mutated. The 8-bp resolution allowed a dissection of the essential and non-essential regions of the coding sequences. Sixty ORFs had transposon insertions within a significant portion of their 3′ region but lacked insertions in the essential 5′ coding region, allowing the identification of non-essential protein segments. For example, transposon insertions in the essential cell-cycle regulatory gene divL, a tyrosine kinase, showed that the last 204 C-terminal amino acids did not impact viability, confirming previous reports that the C-terminal ATPase domain of DivL is dispensable for viability (Reisinger et al, 2007; Iniesta et al, 2010). In addition, we found that 30 out of 480 (6.3%) of the essential ORFs appear to be shorter than the annotated ORF, suggesting that these are probably mis-annotated.
Among the 480 ORFs essential for growth on rich media, there were 10 essential transcriptional regulatory proteins, including 5 previously identified cell-cycle regulators (McAdams and Shapiro, 2003; Holtzendorff et al, 2004; Collier and Shapiro, 2007; Gora et al, 2010; Tan et al, 2010) and 5 uncharacterized predicted transcription factors. In addition, two RNA polymerase sigma factors RpoH and RpoD, as well as the anti-sigma factor ChrR, which mitigates rpoE-dependent stress response under physiological growth conditions (Lourenco and Gomes, 2009), were also found to be essential. Thus, a set of 10 transcription factors, 2 RNA polymerase sigma factors and 1 anti-sigma factor are the core essential transcriptional regulators for growth on rich media. To further characterize the core components of the Caulobacter cell-cycle control network, we identified all essential regulatory sequences and operon transcripts. Altogether, the 480 essential protein-coding and 37 essential RNA-coding Caulobacter genes are organized into operons such that 402 individual promoter regions are sufficient to regulate their expression. Of these 402 essential promoters, the transcription start sites (TSSs) of 105 were previously identified (McGrath et al, 2007).
The essential genome features are non-uniformly distributed on the Caulobacter genome and enriched near the origin and the terminus regions. In contrast, the chromosomal positions of the published E. coli essential coding sequences (Rocha, 2004) are preferentially located at either side of the origin (Figure 4A). This indicates that there are selective pressures on chromosomal positioning of some essential elements (Figure 4A).
The strategy described in this report could be readily extended to quickly determine the essential genome for a large class of bacterial species.
Caulobacter crescentus is a model organism for the integrated circuitry that runs a bacterial cell cycle. Full discovery of its essential genome, including non-coding, regulatory and coding elements, is a prerequisite for understanding the complete regulatory network of a bacterial cell. Using hyper-saturated transposon mutagenesis coupled with high-throughput sequencing, we determined the essential Caulobacter genome at 8 bp resolution, including 1012 essential genome features: 480 ORFs, 402 regulatory sequences and 130 non-coding elements, including 90 intergenic segments of unknown function. The essential transcriptional circuitry for growth on rich media includes 10 transcription factors, 2 RNA polymerase sigma factors and 1 anti-sigma factor. We identified all essential promoter elements for the cell cycle-regulated genes. The essential elements are preferentially positioned near the origin and terminus of the chromosome. The high-resolution strategy used here is applicable to high-throughput, full genome essentiality studies and large-scale genetic perturbation experiments in a broad class of bacterial species.
PMCID: PMC3202797  PMID: 21878915
functional genomics; next-generation sequencing; systems biology; transposon mutagenesis
13.  Hepatitis E Virus ORF2 Protein Activates the Pro-Apoptotic Gene CHOP and Anti-Apoptotic Heat Shock Proteins 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(9):e25378.
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a non-enveloped plus-strand RNA virus that causes acute hepatitis. The capsid protein open reading frame 2 (ORF2) is known to induce endoplasmic reticulum stress in ORF2 expressing cells.
Methodology/Principal Findings
In this study we found that HEV ORF2 activates the expression of the pro-apoptotic gene C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP). ORF2 stimulates the CHOP promoter mainly through AARE (amino acid response elements) and to a minor extent the ERSE (endoplasmic reticulum stress response elements). Activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4) protein binds and activates the AARE regulatory sites of the CHOP promoter. ORF2 expression also leads to increased phosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor 2 alpha (eIF2α) that in turn initiates the translation of ATF4 mRNA. The pro-apoptotic gene CHOP is an important trigger to initiate endoplasmic reticulum stress induced apoptosis. However, the activation of CHOP by ORF2 in this study did not induce apoptosis, nor did BCL2-associated X protein (Bax) translocate to mitochondria. Microarray analysis revealed an ORF2 specific increased expression of chaperones Hsp72, Hsp70B', and co-chaperone Hsp40. Co-immunoprecipitation (Co-IP) and in silico molecular docking analysis suggests that HEV ORF2 interacts with Hsp72. In addition, Hsp72 shows nuclear accumulation in ORF2 expressing cells.
These data provide new insight into simultaneously occurring counter-acting effects of HEV ORF2 that may be part of a strategy to prevent host suicide before completion of the viral replication cycle.
PMCID: PMC3179511  PMID: 21966512
14.  Heat shock protein-90-alpha, a prolactin-STAT5 target gene identified in breast cancer cells, is involved in apoptosis regulation 
The prolactin-Janus-kinase-2-signal transducer and activator of transcription-5 (JAK2-STAT5) pathway is essential for the development and functional differentiation of the mammary gland. The pathway also has important roles in mammary tumourigenesis. Prolactin regulated target genes are not yet well defined in tumour cells, and we undertook, to the best of our knowledge, the first large genetic screen of breast cancer cells treated with or without exogenous prolactin. We hypothesise that the identification of these genes should yield insights into the mechanisms by which prolactin participates in cancer formation or progression, and possibly how it regulates normal mammary gland development.
We used subtractive hybridisation to identify a number of prolactin-regulated genes in the human mammary carcinoma cell line SKBR3. Northern blotting analysis and luciferase assays identified the gene encoding heat shock protein 90-alpha (HSP90A) as a prolactin-JAK2-STAT5 target gene, whose function was characterised using apoptosis assays.
We identified a number of new prolactin-regulated genes in breast cancer cells. Focusing on HSP90A, we determined that prolactin increased HSP90A mRNA in cancerous human breast SKBR3 cells and that STAT5B preferentially activated the HSP90A promoter in reporter gene assays. Both prolactin and its downstream protein effector, HSP90α, promote survival, as shown by apoptosis assays and by the addition of the HSP90 inhibitor, 17-allylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin (17-AAG), in both untransformed HC11 mammary epithelial cells and SKBR3 breast cancer cells. The constitutive expression of HSP90A, however, sensitised differentiated HC11 cells to starvation-induced wild-type p53-independent apoptosis. Interestingly, in SKBR3 breast cancer cells, HSP90α promoted survival in the presence of serum but appeared to have little effect during starvation.
In addition to identifying new prolactin-regulated genes in breast cancer cells, we found that prolactin-JAK2-STAT5 induces expression of the HSP90A gene, which encodes the master chaperone of cancer. This identifies one mechanism by which prolactin contributes to breast cancer. Increased expression of HSP90A in breast cancer is correlated with increased cell survival and poor prognosis and HSP90α inhibitors are being tested in clinical trials as a breast cancer treatment. Our results also indicate that HSP90α promotes survival depending on the cellular conditions and state of cellular transformation.
PMCID: PMC2656886  PMID: 19014541
15.  Reverse Genetics Mediated Recovery of Infectious Murine Norovirus 
Human noroviruses are responsible for most cases of human gastroenteritis (GE) worldwide and are recurrent problem in environments where close person-to-person contact cannot be avoided 1, 2. During the last few years an increase in the incidence of outbreaks in hospitals has been reported, causing significant disruptions to their operational capacity as well as large economic losses. The identification of new antiviral approaches has been limited due to the inability of human noroviruses to complete a productive infection in cell culture 3. The recent isolation of a murine norovirus (MNV), closely related to human norovirus 4 but which can be propagated in cells 5 has opened new avenues for the investigation of these pathogens 6, 7.
MNV replication results in the synthesis of new positive sense genomic and subgenomic RNA molecules, the latter of which corresponds to the last third of the viral genome (Figure 1). MNV contains four different open reading frames (ORFs), of which ORF1 occupies most of the genome and encodes seven non-structural proteins (NS1-7) released from a polyprotein precursor. ORF2 and ORF3 are contained within the subgenomic RNA region and encode the capsid proteins (VP1 and VP2, respectively) (Figure 1). Recently, we have identified that additional ORF4 overlapping ORF2 but in a different reading frame is functional and encodes for a mitochondrial localised virulence factor (VF1) 8.
Replication for positive sense RNA viruses, including noroviruses, takes place in the cytoplasm resulting in the synthesis of new uncapped RNA genomes. To promote viral translation, viruses exploit different strategies aimed at recruiting the cellular protein synthesis machinery 9-11. Interestingly, norovirus translation is driven by the multifunctional viral protein-primer VPg covalently linked to the 5' end of both genomic and subgenomic RNAs 12-14. This sophisticated mechanism of translation is likely to be a major factor in the limited efficiency of viral recovery by conventional reverse genetics approaches.
Here we report two different strategies based on the generation of murine norovirus-1 (referred to as MNV herewith) transcripts capped at the 5' end. One of the methods involves both in vitro synthesis and capping of viral RNA, whereas the second approach entails the transcription of MNV cDNA in cells expressing T7 RNA polymerase. The availability of these reverse genetics systems for the study of MNV and a small animal model has provided an unprecedented ability to dissect the role of viral sequences in replication and pathogenesis 15-17.
PMCID: PMC3471295  PMID: 22760450
Virology;  Issue 64;  Immunology;  Genetics;  Infection;  RNA virus;  VPg;  RNA capping;  T7 RNA polymerase;  calicivirus;  norovirus
16.  Cloning of the heat shock protein 90 and 70 genes from the beet armyworm, Spodoptera exigua, and expression characteristics in relation to thermal stress and development 
Cell Stress & Chaperones  2011;17(1):67-80.
Two full-length cDNAs of heat shock protein (HSP) genes (Se-hsp90 and Se-hsp70) were cloned from the beet armyworm, Spodoptera exigua, and their expression was investigated in relation to cold shock, heat shock, and development. The open reading frames of Se-hsp90 and Se-hsp70 are 2,154 and 2,004 bp in length, encoding polypeptides of 717 and 667 amino acids with a molecular mass of 82.6 and 72.5 kDa, respectively. Both genes showed high similarity to their counterparts in other species. Transcriptional expression profiles revealed that both genes were significantly up-regulated under thermal stress. However, the temperature at which expression level became significantly higher than that of controls varied between genes. Intensity of response to temperature was more intense for Se-hsp70 than for Se-hsp90, regardless of temperature or developmental stage. However, intensities of response to temperature of either Se-hsp90 or Se-hsp70 varied with developmental stage. The basal expression of both genes was highest in young larvae and decreased with age. Translational expression of Se-Hsp70 was observed by using Western blot, the expression profiles of Se-Hsp70 protein were in high agreement with those of Se-hsp70 RNA under heat or cold stress in larvae and pupae. However, it does not completely accord with that of Se-hsp70 RNA expression during development without thermal stress. These results indicated that, in addition to heat shock responses, both Se-hsp90 and Se-hsp70 might be involved in development.
PMCID: PMC3227854  PMID: 21842334
Spodoptera exigua; Se-Hsp90; Se-Hsp70; Expression; Thermal stress; Development
17.  HSP72 Protects Cells from ER Stress-induced Apoptosis via Enhancement of IRE1α-XBP1 Signaling through a Physical Interaction 
PLoS Biology  2010;8(7):e1000410.
The cytosolic chaperone Hsp72 directly modulates stress sensing in response to the accumulation of unfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum and promotes cell survival.
Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress is a feature of secretory cells and of many diseases including cancer, neurodegeneration, and diabetes. Adaptation to ER stress depends on the activation of a signal transduction pathway known as the unfolded protein response (UPR). Enhanced expression of Hsp72 has been shown to reduce tissue injury in response to stress stimuli and improve cell survival in experimental models of stroke, sepsis, renal failure, and myocardial ischemia. Hsp72 inhibits several features of the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. However, the molecular mechanisms by which Hsp72 expression inhibits ER stress-induced apoptosis are not clearly understood. Here we show that Hsp72 enhances cell survival under ER stress conditions. The UPR signals through the sensor IRE1α, which controls the splicing of the mRNA encoding the transcription factor XBP1. We show that Hsp72 enhances XBP1 mRNA splicing and expression of its target genes, associated with attenuated apoptosis under ER stress conditions. Inhibition of XBP1 mRNA splicing either by dominant negative IRE1α or by knocking down XBP1 specifically abrogated the inhibition of ER stress-induced apoptosis by Hsp72. Regulation of the UPR was associated with the formation of a stable protein complex between Hsp72 and the cytosolic domain of IRE1α. Finally, Hsp72 enhanced the RNase activity of recombinant IRE1α in vitro, suggesting a direct regulation. Our data show that binding of Hsp72 to IRE1α enhances IRE1α/XBP1 signaling at the ER and inhibits ER stress-induced apoptosis. These results provide a physical connection between cytosolic chaperones and the ER stress response.
Author Summary
The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is responsible for production and folding of secreted proteins. When the protein folding machinery cannot keep up with demand, misfolded proteins accumulate, leading to a state of ER stress that contributes to diseases such as cancer, neurodegeneration, diabetes, and myocardial infarct. The unfolded protein response (UPR) is an intracellular signaling network activated in response to ER stress. It initially tries to restore normal ER homeostasis, but if the damage is too severe cell death pathways mediated by cytosolic and mitochondrial proteins are activated. The molecular mechanisms involved in the transition of the UPR from a protective to an apoptotic phase are unclear. IRE1α is an ER membrane protein that acts as a sensor of ER stress. A number of proteins can interact with IRE1α to regulate its function, which includes an RNase activity responsible for inducing the unconventional splicing of the transcript for a downstream signaling protein called XBP-1. Here, we report that Hsp72, a stress-inducible cytosolic molecular chaperone, can bind to and enhance the RNase activity of IRE1α, providing an important molecular link between the heat shock response and the ER stress response. Importantly, increased production of active XBP-1 was necessary for Hsp72 to exert its prosurvival effect under conditions of ER stress. Our results suggest a mechanism whereby Hsp72 overexpression helps cells adapt to long-term ER stress in vivo by enhancing the pro-survival effects of the IRE1α/XBP1 branch of the UPR.
PMCID: PMC2897763  PMID: 20625543
18.  The Product of the Respiratory Syncytial Virus M2 Gene ORF1 Enhances Readthrough of Intergenic Junctions during Viral Transcription 
Journal of Virology  1998;72(1):520-526.
The mRNA encoding the M2 protein of respiratory syncytial (RS) virus contains two open reading frames (ORFs). ORF1 encodes the 22-kDa structural protein, M2, and ORF2 has the potential to encode a 10-kDa protein (90 amino acids). Using a vaccinia virus T7 expression system, we examined the RNA synthetic activities of mono- and dicistronic subgenomic replicons of RS virus by direct metabolic labeling of RNA in the presence and absence of the products of ORF1 and ORF2. In the absence of ORF1 and ORF2, the negative- and positive-sense products of genomic RNA replication and positive-sense polyadenylated mRNA(s) were synthesized. Expression of the whole M2 transcription unit (containing ORF1 and ORF2) or ORF1 alone caused an increase in the synthesis of polyadenylated mRNA, the majority of which was due to a substantial increase in the quantity of polycistronic mRNAs generated by the polymerase failing to terminate at gene end signals. In agreement with previous reports, the ORF2 product was found to inhibit viral RNA replication and mRNA transcription. These data show that the M2 protein functions as a transcriptional antiterminator that enhances the ability of the viral RNA polymerase to read through intergenic junctions. The role of such a function during the viral life cycle is discussed.
PMCID: PMC109403  PMID: 9420254
19.  Nonhomologous RNA Recombination in Bovine Viral Diarrhea Virus: Molecular Characterization of a Variety of Subgenomic RNAs Isolated during an Outbreak of Fatal Mucosal Disease 
Journal of Virology  1999;73(7):5646-5653.
Four bovine viral diarrhea virus type 2 (BVDV-2) pairs consisting of cytopathogenic (cp) and noncp BVDV-2 were isolated during an outbreak of mucosal disease. Comparative sequence analysis showed that the four noncp BVDV-2 isolates were almost identical. For the cp BVDV-2 isolates, viral subgenomic RNAs were shown by Northern blot to have a length of about 8 kb, which is about 4.3 kb shorter than the genome of noncp BVDV. Cytopathogenicity and the expression of NS3 were both strictly correlated to the presence of viral subgenomic RNAs. By reverse transcription-PCR, Southern blot analysis, and nucleotide sequencing, a set of 11 unique subgenomes was identified with up to 5 different subgenomes isolated from one animal. To our knowledge, this is the first report on isolation of a set of pestiviral subgenomes from individual animals. Common features of the BVDV-2 subgenomic RNAs include (i) deletion of most of the genomic region encoding the structural proteins, as well as the nonstructural proteins p7 and NS2, and (ii) insertion of cellular (poly)ubiquitin coding sequences. Three subgenomes also comprised 15 to 75 nucleotides derived from the 5′ part of the NS2 gene. Comparisons of the obtained nucleotide sequences revealed that the different BVDV-2 subgenomes evolved from the respective noncp BVDV-2 by RNA recombination. The presence of short regions of sequence similarity at several crossing-over sites suggests that base pairing between the nascent RNA strand and the acceptor RNA template facilitates template switching of the BVDV RNA-dependent RNA polymerase.
PMCID: PMC112623  PMID: 10364314
20.  Heat shock proteins in porcine ovary: synthesis, accumulation and regulation by stress and hormones 
Cell Stress & Chaperones  2010;16(4):379-387.
The present studies aimed to understand the interrelationships between stress, hormones and heat shock proteins (HSPs) in the ovary. We examined (1) whether HSP70.2, HSP72 and HSP105/110 can be produced and accumulated in porcine ovarian tissue, (2) whether these HSPs could be indicators of stress, i.e. whether two kinds of stress (high temperatures and malnutrition/serum deprivation) can affect them, and (3) whether some hormonal regulators of ovarian functions (insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I, leptin and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)) can affect these HSPs and response of ovaries to HSP-related stress. We analysed the expression of HSP70.2, HSP72 and HSP105/110 mRNA (by using real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction) in porcine ovarian granulosa cells, as well as the accumulation of HSP70 protein (by using sodium dodecyl sulphate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis–Western) in either whole ovarian follicles and granulose cells cultured at normal (37.5°C) or high (41.5°C) temperature, with and without serum and with and without IGF-I, leptin and FSH. Expression of mRNA for HSP70.2, HSP72 and HSP105/110 in ovarian granulosa cells and accumulation of HSP70 protein in whole ovarian follicles and granulosa cells were demonstrated. In all the groups, addition of either IGF-I, leptin and FSH reduced the expression of HSP70.2, HSP72 and HSP105/110 mRNA. Both high temperature, serum deprivation and their combination resulted in increase in mRNAs for all three analysed HSPs. Additions of either IGF-I, leptin and FSH prevented the stimulatory effect of both high temperature and serum deprivation on the transcription of HSP70.2, HSP72 and HSP105/110. In contrast, high temperature reduced accumulation of peptide HSP70 in both ovarian follicles and granulosa cell. Serum deprivation promoted accumulation of HSP70 in granulosa cells, but not in ovarian follicles. Addition of IGF-I, leptin and FSH was able to alter accumulation of HSP70 in both follicles and granulosa cells. The present observations suggest (1) that HSPs can be synthesised in ovarian follicular granulosa cells; (2) that hormones (IGF-I, leptin and FSH) can inhibit, whilst stressors (both high temperature and malnutrition/serum deprivation) can stimulate transcription of HSP70.2, HSP72 and HSP105/110 genes, whilst heat stress, but not malnutrition, can promote depletion of HSP70 in ovarian cells, and (3) that hormones (IGF-I, leptin and FSH) can prevent stress-related changes in HSPs. The application of HSPs as indicators and mediators of stress and hormones on ovarian functions, as well as use of hormones and HSPs as anti-stressor molecules, are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3118823  PMID: 21188661
Heat shock proteins (HSP70, HSP72, HSP105/110); IGF-I; Leptin; FSH; Ovarian follicles; Granulosa cells
21.  Transcription of the Stationary-Phase-Associated hspX Gene of Mycobacterium tuberculosis Is Inversely Related to Synthesis of the 16-Kilodalton Protein 
Journal of Bacteriology  1999;181(5):1380-1387.
The 16-kDa protein, an α-crystallin homologue, is one of the most abundant proteins in stationary-phase Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Here, transcription and translation of the hspX gene, which encodes the 16-kDa protein, have been investigated by Northern blotting analysis, primer extension, and sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis with a microaerophilic stationary-phase model. Two transcripts of about 2.5 and 1.1 kb were demonstrated by Northern blot analysis and hybridized to the hspX gene probe. Primer extension analysis revealed that the transcription start site is located 33 nucleotides upstream of the hspX gene start codon. The cellular level of the hspX mRNA was maximum in log-phase bacilli and was markedly reduced after 20 days in unagitated culture, when the organisms had entered the stationary phase. A third transcript of 0.5 kb was detected 0.6 kb downstream of the hspX gene; this transcript has a transcriptional pattern completely different from that of the 1.1- and 2.5-kb products, suggesting that there may be another gene in this region. In contrast to the high level of hspX mRNA in log-phase bacilli, 16-kDa protein synthesis was low in log-phase bacteria and rose to its maximum after 20 days. In both log-phase and stationary-phase bacteria the mRNA was unstable, with a half-life of 2 min, which indicated that the transcript stability was growth rate independent and not a general means for controlling the gene expression. However, the cellular content of 16-kDa protein, while low in log-phase bacteria, rose to a maximum at 10 days and remained at this high level for up to 50 days, which indicates that this protein is a stable molecule with a low turnover rate. These data suggest that the regulation of hspX expression during entry into and maintenance of stationary phase involves translation initiation efficiency and protein stability as potential mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC93524  PMID: 10049366
22.  An RNA polymerase II promoter in the hsp70 locus of Trypanosoma brucei. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1996;16(3):1220-1230.
To study of structure of RNA polymerase (pol) II transcription units a nd the influence of temperature on the regulation of gene expression in Trypanosoma brucei, and hsp70 intergenic region promoter was characterized. In T. brucei, the hsp70 locus contains, from 5' to 3', a cognate hsp70-related gene (gene 1) which is separated by about 6 kb of DNA from a cluster of five identical hsp70 genes (genes 2 to 6). Transcription proceeds on the entire 23-kb locus, and polycistronic transcription occurs in hsp70 genes 2 to 6. Transcription of hsp70 genes 2 to 6 is only moderately sensitive to UV irradiation, indicating that it cannot be driven by a single far-upstream promoter, which suggests that promoters could be located in the region close to the hsp70 coding region. Transient transformations demonstrated that sequences located upstream of hsp70 gene 2 and in the intergenic region between hsp70 genes 2 and 3 are able to direct transcription of the reporter gene, the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) gene. The plasmid DNA driven by the hsp70 intergenic region promoter gave CAT activity approximately 85-fold above to background level. This is equivalent to approximately 1% of that derived from a CAT plasmid driven by the procyclic acidic repetitive protein gene promoter, which is controlled by RNA pol I. The hsp70 intergenic region promoter can drive alpha-amanitin-sensitive transcription at an internal position of the chromosome as well as an episome, suggesting that it is controlled by RNA pol II. However, this hsp70 intergenic region promoter, along with the 3' splice site and the 5' untranslated region of the hsp70 genes that controls the transcription of the reporter gene, cannot up-regulate the expression of the reporter gene during heat shock. This result is consistent with the previous observation that expression of the hsp70 genes in T. brucei is mainly controlled at the posttranscriptional level.
PMCID: PMC231104  PMID: 8622666
23.  Four Heat Shock Protein Genes of the Endoparasitoid Wasp, Cotesia vestalis, and Their Transcriptional Profiles in Relation to Developmental Stages and Temperature 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e59721.
Heat shock proteins (Hsps) play important roles in the environmental adaptation of various organisms. To explore the functions of Hsps in relation to heat stress and development in Cotesia vestalis, a solitary larval endoparasitoid of Plutella xylostella, four heat shock protein genes, CvHsp40, CvHsc70, CvHsp70 and CvHsp90, were cloned and sequenced from C. vestalis by real-time quantitative PCR and RACE. The cDNA sequence of CvHsp40, CvHsc70, CvHsp70 and CvHsp90 were 1473 bp, 2316 bp, 2279 bp and 2663 bp long, which encode proteins with calculated molecular weights (MW) of 39.1 kDa, 71.2 kDa, 70.1 kDa and 83.3 kDa, respectively. Furthermore, the analysis of genomic DNA confirmed that no introns existed in CvHsp40, CvHsp70 and CvHsp90 while two introns were present in CvHsc70. The amino acid sequence analysis of CvHsps indicated that CvHsp40 is a Type II Hsp40 homolog, CvHsp70 and CvHsc70 are the eukaryotic cytoplasmic Hsp70s, and CvHsp90 is the β-isoform of Hsp90. The divergent transcriptional patterns of CvHsp40, CvHsp70 and CvHsp90 in the different developmental stages suggested that CvHsp transcripts were under different mechanisms of regulation during the development of parasitoid larvae. The dramatic increase of transcripts of CvHsp70 at the third-instar larva coincided with its developmental change in this stage, that is, from inside host to outside host. CvHsp40, CvHsc70 and CvHsp70 showed a trend of sex-specific differences of transcript abundance in the adult stage. All CvHsp transcripts in different developmental stages were significantly induced by heat stress, and the lowest transcript abundances appeared around the temperature 27°C, which probably suggest that this is the most favorable temperature for the development of C. vestalis. Our results suggest that the expression of heat shock proteins reflects to some extent the developmental changes and environmental requirements of insects.
PMCID: PMC3601058  PMID: 23527260
24.  Induction of a chicken small heat shock (stress) protein: evidence of multilevel posttranscriptional regulation. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1990;10(9):4886-4898.
A novel form of regulation of expression of a vertebrate heat shock gene is described. A cDNA clone encoding human Hsp27 was shown to specifically recognize chicken Hsp23 RNA by Northern (RNA) blot analysis and hybrid-select translation. This probe was then used to measure chicken hsp23 gene activity in control and heat-stressed cells. The hsp23 gene(s) was transcriptionally active in non-heat-stressed cells, and its rate of transcription did not increase significantly upon heat shock. Cytoplasmic Hsp23 mRNA, which was metabolically very stable in nonstressed cells, underwent a fourfold increase in amount after a 1-h heat shock, resulting in a twofold increase in Hsp23 mRNA in polysomes. Hsp23 mRNA was relatively abundant and translationally active even in non-heat-shocked cells. Taken together, these data implicated posttranscriptional nuclear events as an important control point for induction of Hsp23 RNA transcripts. The protein half-life of Hsp23 increased from approximately 2 h in control cultures to 13 h in heat-shocked cells, revealing a second major control point. Hsp23 which was synthesized prior to heat shock also increased in stability and contributed to the overall accumulation of Hsp23 in heat-shocked cells. Cycloheximide had no effect on this change in Hsp23 half-life, while dactinomycin blocked the stabilization of Hsp23, suggesting a need for newly synthesized RNA. These data indicated that stabilization of Hsp23 protein and posttranscriptional nuclear events resulting in increased production of Hsp23 mRNA were primarily responsible for a 13-fold increase in the accumulation of newly synthesized Hsp23 after 1 h of heat shock. The regulation of the hsp23 gene is discussed in comparison with several other posttranscriptionally regulated genes, including the proto-oncogene c-fos, the developmentally regulated chicken delta-crystallin gene, and regulation of cellular gene expression by the proto-oncogene c-myc.
PMCID: PMC361103  PMID: 2388629
25.  Characterization and Construction of Functional cDNA Clones of Pariacoto Virus, the First Alphanodavirus Isolated outside Australasia 
Journal of Virology  2000;74(11):5123-5132.
Pariacoto virus (PaV) was recently isolated in Peru from the Southern armyworm (Spodoptera eridania). PaV particles are isometric, nonenveloped, and about 30 nm in diameter. The virus has a bipartite RNA genome and a single major capsid protein with a molecular mass of 39.0 kDa, features that support its classification as a Nodavirus. As such, PaV is the first Alphanodavirus to have been isolated from outside Australasia. Here we report that PaV replicates in wax moth larvae and that PaV genomic RNAs replicate when transfected into cultured baby hamster kidney cells. The complete nucleotide sequences of both segments of the bipartite RNA genome were determined. The larger genome segment, RNA1, is 3,011 nucleotides long and contains a 973-amino-acid open reading frame (ORF) encoding protein A, the viral contribution to the RNA replicase. During replication, a 414-nucleotide long subgenomic RNA (RNA3) is synthesized which is coterminal with the 3′ end of RNA1. RNA3 contains a small ORF which could encode a protein of 90 amino acids similar to the B2 protein of other alphanodaviruses. RNA2 contains 1,311 nucleotides and encodes the 401 amino acids of the capsid protein precursor α. The amino acid sequences of the PaV capsid protein and the replicase subunit share 41 and 26% identity with homologous proteins of Flock house virus, the best characterized of the alphanodaviruses. These and other sequence comparisons indicate that PaV is evolutionarily the most distant of the alphanodaviruses described to date, consistent with its novel geographic origin. Although the PaV capsid precursor is cleaved into the two mature capsid proteins β and γ, the amino acid sequence at the cleavage site, which is Asn/Ala in all other alphanodaviruses, is Asn/Ser in PaV. To facilitate the investigation of PaV replication in cultured cells, we constructed plasmids that transcribed full-length PaV RNAs with authentic 5′ and 3′ termini. Transcription of these plasmids in cells recreated the replication of PaV RNA1 and RNA2, synthesis of subgenomic RNA3, and translation of viral proteins A and α.
PMCID: PMC110865  PMID: 10799587

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