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.
A reporter open reading frame (ORF) coding for a fusion of bacterial β-glucuronidase (GUS) with a proteinase domain (Pro) derived from tobacco etch potyvirus was utilized for tagging individual genes of beet yellows closterovirus (BYV). Insertion of this reporter ORF between the first and second codons of the BYV ORFs encoding the HSP70 homolog (HSP70h), a major capsid protein (CP), and a 20-kDa protein (p20) resulted in the expression of the processed GUS-Pro reporter from corresponding subgenomic RNAs. The high sensitivity of GUS assays permitted temporal analysis of reporter accumulation, revealing early expression from the HSP70h promoter, followed by the CP promoter and later the p20 promoter. The kinetics of transcription of the remaining BYV genes encoding a 64-kDa protein (p64), a minor capsid protein (CPm), and a 21-kDa protein (p21) were examined via Northern blot analysis. Taken together, the data indicated that the temporal regulation of BYV gene expression includes early (HSP70h, CPm, CP, and p21 promoters) and late (p64 and p20 promoters) phases. It was also demonstrated that the deletion of six viral genes that are nonessential for RNA amplification resulted in a dramatic increase in the level of transcription from one of the two remaining subgenomic promoters. Comparison with other positive-strand RNA viruses producing multiple subgenomic RNAs showed the uniqueness of the pattern of closterovirus transcriptional regulation.
The family Closteroviridae consists of two genera, Closterovirus and Ampelovirus with monopartite genomes transmitted respectively by aphids and mealybugs and the Crinivirus with bipartite genomes transmitted by whiteflies. The Closteroviridae consists of more than 30 virus species, which differ considerably in their phytopathological significance. Some, like beet yellows virus and citrus tristeza virus (CTV) were associated for many decades with their respective hosts, sugar beets and citrus. Others, like the grapevine leafroll-associated ampeloviruses 1, and 3 were also associated with their grapevine hosts for long periods; however, difficulties in virus isolation hampered their molecular characterization. The majority of the recently identified Closteroviridae were probably associated with their vegetative propagated host plants for long periods and only detected through the considerable advances in dsRNA isolation and sequencing of PCR amplified replicons. Molecular characterization of CTV and several other Closteroviridae revealed that, in addition to genomic and subgenomic RNAs, infected plants contain several different subviral defective RNAs (dRNAs). The roles and biological functions of dRNAs associated with Closteroviridae remain terra incognita.
citrus viruses; RNA viruses; RNA recombination; viral replicase; template-switching; non-replicative RNAs; virus replication; defective RNA
The beet yellows closterovirus leader proteinase (L-Pro) possesses a C-terminal proteinase domain and a nonproteolytic N-terminal domain. It was found that although L-Pro is not essential for basal-level replication, deletion of its N-terminal domain resulted in a 1,000-fold reduction in RNA accumulation. Mutagenic analysis of the N-terminal domain revealed its structural flexibility except for the 54-codon-long, 5′-terminal element in the corresponding open reading frame that is critical for efficient RNA amplification at both RNA and protein levels.
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 complete nucleotide sequences of genomic RNA1 (9,407 nucleotides [nt]) and RNA2 (8,223 nt) of Sweet potato chlorotic stunt virus (SPCSV; genus Crinivirus, family Closteroviridae) were determined, revealing that SPCSV possesses the second largest identified positive-strand single-stranded RNA genome among plant viruses after Citrus tristeza virus. RNA1 contains two overlapping open reading frames (ORFs) that encode the replication module, consisting of the putative papain-like cysteine proteinase, methyltransferase, helicase, and polymerase domains. RNA2 contains the Closteroviridae hallmark gene array represented by a heat shock protein homologue (Hsp70h), a protein of 50 to 60 kDa depending on the virus, the major coat protein, and a divergent copy of the coat protein. This grouping resembles the genome organization of Lettuce infectious yellows virus (LIYV), the only other crinivirus for which the whole genomic sequence is available. However, in striking contrast to LIYV, the two genomic RNAs of SPCSV contained nearly identical 208-nt-long 3′ terminal sequences, and the ORF for a putative small hydrophobic protein present in LIYV RNA2 was found at a novel position in SPCSV RNA1. Furthermore, unlike any other plant or animal virus, SPCSV carried an ORF for a putative RNase III-like protein (ORF2 on RNA1). Several subgenomic RNAs (sgRNAs) were detected in SPCSV-infected plants, indicating that the sgRNAs formed from RNA1 accumulated earlier in infection than those of RNA2. The 5′ ends of seven sgRNAs were cloned and sequenced by an approach that provided compelling evidence that the sgRNAs are capped in infected plants, a novel finding for members of the Closteroviridae.
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.
In eukaryotic virus systems, infection leads to induction of membranous compartments in which replication occurs. Virus-encoded subunits of the replication complex mediate its interaction with membranes. As replication platforms, RNA viruses use the cytoplasmic surfaces of different membrane compartments, e.g., endoplasmic reticulum (ER), Golgi, endo/lysosomes, mitochondria, chloroplasts, and peroxisomes. Closterovirus infections are accompanied by formation of multivesicular complexes from cell membranes of ER or mitochondrial origin. So far the mechanisms for vesicles formation have been obscure. In the replication-associated 1a polyprotein of Beet yellows virus (BYV) and other closteroviruses, the region between the methyltransferase and helicase domains (1a central region (CR), 1a CR) is marginally conserved. Computer-assisted analysis predicts several putative membrane-binding domains in the BYV 1a CR. Transient expression of a hydrophobic segment (referred to here as CR-2) of the BYV 1a in Nicotiana benthamiana led to reorganization of the ER and formation of ~1-μm mobile globules. We propose that the CR-2 may be involved in the formation of multivesicular complexes in BYV-infected cells. This provides analogy with membrane-associated proteins mediating the build-up of “virus factories” in cells infected with diverse positive-strand RNA viruses (alpha-like viruses, picorna-like viruses, flaviviruses, and nidoviruses) and negative-strand RNA viruses (bunyaviruses).
RNA virus replication; membrane vesicles; virus replication factory; endoplasmic reticulum modification; intracellular traffic
The virus-encoded proteins of tobacco etch virus (TEV), a plant potyvirus, arise by proteolytic processing of a large polyprotein precursor. The TEV genome codes for two proteinases, a 49-kilodalton proteinase and helper component proteinase (HC-Pro), which cleave the polyprotein at specific sites. The only known cleavage event catalyzed by HC-Pro occurs at the HC-Pro carboxyl terminus. The proteolytic activity of HC-Pro was analyzed by expression of the enzyme in bacterial and cell-free systems. The carboxyl-terminal domain of HC-Pro exhibited proteolytic activity in Escherichia coli with a processing half-time of approximately 100 s. The processing kinetics of HC-Pro expressed in vitro by cell-free transcription and translation was variable, depending on the presence or absence of TEV polypeptide sequences at the amino terminus of the proteolytic domain. Cleavage of the HC-Pro carboxyl terminus appeared to proceed exclusively by an autocatalytic mechanism; the proteinase synthesized in vitro exhibited little or no proteolytic activity when reacted with the HC-Pro cleavage site in trans or biomolecular reactions.
Tobacco etch virus (TEV) encodes three proteinases that catalyze processing of the genome-encoded polyprotein. The P1 proteinase originates from the N terminus of the polyprotein and catalyzes proteolysis between itself and the helper component proteinase (HC-Pro). Mutations resulting in substitution of a single amino acid, small insertions, or deletions were introduced into the P1 coding sequence of the TEV genome. Deletion of the N-terminal, nonproteolytic domain of P1 had only minor effects on virus infection in protoplasts and whole plants. Insertion mutations that did not impair proteolytic activity had no measurable effects regardless of whether the modification affected the N-terminal nonproteolytic or C-terminal proteolytic domain. In contrast, three mutations (termed S256A, F, and delta 304) that debilitated P1 proteolytic activity rendered the virus nonviable, whereas a fourth proteinase-debilitating mutation (termed C) resulted in a slow-infection phenotype. A strategy was devised to determine whether the defect in the P1 mutants was due to an inactive proteinase domain or due simply to a lack of proteolytic maturation between P1 and HC-Pro. Sequences coding for a surrogate cleavage site recognized by the TEV NIa proteinase were inserted into the genome of each processing-debilitated mutant at positions that resulted in NIa-mediated proteolysis between P1 and HC-Pro. The infectivity of each mutant was restored by these second-site modifications. These data indicate that P1 proteinase activity is not essential for viral infectivity but that separation of P1 and HC-Pro is required. The data also provide evidence that the proteinase domain is involved in additional, nonproteolytic functions.
Time course and mutational analyses were used to examine the accumulation in protoplasts of progeny RNAs of the bipartite Crinivirus, Lettuce infectious yellow virus (LIYV; family Closteroviridae). Hybridization analyses showed that simultaneous inoculation of LIYV RNAs 1 and 2 resulted in asynchronous accumulation of progeny LIYV RNAs. LIYV RNA 1 progeny genomic and subgenomic RNAs could be detected in protoplasts as early as 12 h postinoculation (p.i.) and accumulated to high levels by 24 h p.i. The LIYV RNA 1 open reading frame 2 (ORF 2) subgenomic RNA was the most abundant of all LIYV RNAs detected. In contrast, RNA 2 progeny were not readily detected until ca. 36 h p.i. Mutational analyses showed that in-frame stop codons introduced into five of seven RNA 2 ORFs did not affect accumulation of progeny LIYV RNA 1 or RNA 2, confirming that RNA 2 does not encode proteins necessary for LIYV RNA replication. Mutational analyses also supported that LIYV RNA 1 encodes proteins necessary for replication of LIYV RNAs 1 and 2. A mutation introduced into the LIYV RNA 1 region encoding the overlapping ORF 1B and ORF 2 was lethal. However, mutations introduced into only LIYV RNA 1 ORF 2 resulted in accumulation of progeny RNA 1 near or equal to wild-type RNA 1. In contrast, the RNA 1 ORF 2 mutants did not efficiently support the trans accumulation of LIYV RNA 2. Three distinct RNA 1 ORF 2 mutants were analyzed and all exhibited a similar phenotype for progeny LIYV RNA accumulation. These data suggest that the LIYV RNA 1 ORF 2 encodes a trans enhancer for RNA 2 accumulation.
Citrus tristeza virus (CTV), a member of the genus Closterovirus within the family Closteroviridae, is the causal agent of citrus tristeza disease. Previous studies revealed that the negative selection, RNA recombination and gene flow were the most important forces that drove CTV evolution. However, the CTV codon usage was not studied and thus its role in CTV evolution remains unknown.
A detailed comparative analysis of CTV codon usage pattern was done in this study. Results of the study show that although in general CTV does not have a high degree of codon usage bias, the codon usage of CTV has a high level of resemblance to its host codon usage. In addition, our data indicate that the codon usage resemblance is only observed for the woody plant-infecting closteroviruses but not the closteroviruses infecting the herbaceous host plants, suggesting the existence of different virus-host interactions between the herbaceous plant-infecting and woody plant-infecting closteroviruses.
Based on the results, we suggest that in addition to RNA recombination, negative selection and gene flow, host plant codon usage selection can also affect CTV evolution.
Citrus tristeza virus; Synonymous codon usage; Citrus sinensis; Codon resemblance; Virus-host interaction
The NIa protein of plant potyviruses is a bifunctional protein containing an N-terminal VPg domain and a C-terminal proteinase region. The majority of tobacco etch potyvirus (TEV) NIa molecules are localized to the nucleus of infected cells, although a proportion of NIa is attached covalently as VPg to viral RNA in the cytoplasm. A suboptimal cleavage site that is recognized by the NIa proteinase is located between the two domains. This site was found to be utilized in the VPg-associated, but not the nuclear, pool of NIa. A mutation converting Glu-189 to Leu at the P1 position of the processing site inhibited internal cleavage. Introduction of this mutation into TEV-GUS, an engineered variant of TEV that expresses a reporter protein (beta-glucuronidase [GUS]) fused to the N terminus of the helper component-proteinase (HC-Pro), rendered the virus replication defective in tobacco protoplasts. Site-specific reversion of the mutant internal processing site to the wild-type sequence restored virus viability. In addition, the trans-processing activity of NIa proteinase was tested in vivo after introduction of an artificial cleavage site between the GUS and HC-Pro sequences in the cytoplasmic GUS/HC-Pro polyprotein encoded by TEV-GUS. The novel site was recognized and processed in plants infected by the engineered virus, indicating the presence of excess NIa processing capacity in the cytoplasm. The potential roles of internal NIa processing in TEV-infected cells are discussed.
Turnip yellow mosaic virus (TYMV) - a member of the alphavirus-like supergroup of viruses - serves as a model system for positive-stranded RNA virus membrane-bound replication. TYMV encodes a precursor replication polyprotein that is processed by the endoproteolytic activity of its internal cysteine proteinase domain (PRO). We recently reported that PRO is actually a multifunctional enzyme with a specific ubiquitin hydrolase (DUB) activity that contributes to viral infectivity. Here, we report the crystal structure of the 150-residue PRO. Strikingly, PRO displays no homology to other processing proteinases from positive-stranded RNA viruses, including that of alphaviruses. Instead, the closest structural homologs of PRO are DUBs from the Ovarian tumor (OTU) family. In the crystal, one molecule's C-terminus inserts into the catalytic cleft of the next, providing a view of the N-terminal product complex in replication polyprotein processing. This allows us to locate the specificity determinants of PRO for its proteinase substrates. In addition to the catalytic cleft, at the exit of which the active site is unusually pared down and solvent-exposed, a key element in molecular recognition by PRO is a lobe N-terminal to the catalytic domain. Docking models and the activities of PRO and PRO mutants in a deubiquitylating assay suggest that this N-terminal lobe is also likely involved in PRO's DUB function. Our data thus establish that DUBs can evolve to specifically hydrolyze both iso- and endopeptide bonds with different sequences. This is achieved by the use of multiple specificity determinants, as recognition of substrate patches distant from the cleavage sites allows a relaxed specificity of PRO at the sites themselves. Our results thus shed light on how such a compact protein achieves a diversity of key functions in viral genome replication and host-pathogen interaction.
Positive-stranded RNA viruses are ultimate parasites. In order to replicate their genome, they first need to invade a host cell and, with usually very limited viral genetic material, subvert the host's molecular machinery. Turnip yellow mosaic virus (TYMV) is an excellent model system for studying positive-stranded RNA virus replication. As for many such viruses, TYMV genome replication is dependent on the activity of a viral proteinase (PRO) to properly process the virus' replication molecules. We have recently established that PRO is a multifunctional enzyme and is also used by TYMV to subvert a key host defense against pathogens. We report here the atomic structure of PRO as well as new functional data on PRO's interaction with the host. Our data shed light on how PRO can perform such multiple activities despite its small size, providing TYMV with a Swiss army knife in its ongoing fight with a vastly more complex host.
The complete positive-sense single-stranded RNA genome of Cassava brown streak virus (CBSV; genus Ipomovirus; Potyviridae) was found to consist of 9,069 nucleotides and predicted to produce a polyprotein of 2,902 amino acids. It was lacking helper-component proteinase but contained a single P1 serine proteinase that strongly suppressed RNA silencing. Besides the exceptional structure of the 5′-proximal part of the genome, CBSV also contained a Maf/HAM1-like sequence (678 nucleotides, 226 amino acids) recombined between the replicase and coat protein domains in the 3′-proximal part of the genome, which is highly conserved in Potyviridae. HAM1 was flanked by consensus proteolytic cleavage sites for ipomovirus NIaPro cysteine proteinase. Homology of CBSV HAM1 with cellular Maf/HAM1 pyrophosphatases suggests that it may intercept noncanonical nucleoside triphosphates to reduce mutagenesis of viral RNA.
The tobacco etch potyvirus (TEV) polyprotein is proteolytically processed by three viral proteinases (NIa, HC-Pro, and P1). While the NIa and HC-Pro proteinases each provide multiple functions essential for viral infectivity, the role of the P1 proteinase beyond its autoproteolytic activity is understood poorly. To determine if P1 is necessary for genome amplification and/or virus movement from cell to cell, a mutant lacking the entire P1 coding region (delta P1 mutant) was produced with a modified TEV strain (TEV-GUS) expressing beta-glucuronidase (GUS) as a reporter, and its replication and movement phenotypes were assayed in tobacco protoplasts and plants. The delta P1 mutant accumulated in protoplasts to approximately 2 to 3% the level of parental TEV-GUS, indicating that the P1 protein may contribute to but is not strictly required for viral RNA amplification. The delta P1 mutant was capable of cell-to-cell and systemic (leaf-to-leaf) movement in plants but at reduced rates compared with parental virus. This is in contrast to the S256A mutant, which encodes a processing-defective P1 proteinase and which was nonviable in plants. Both delta P1 and S256A mutants were complemented by P1 proteinase expressed in a transgenic host. In transgenic protoplasts, genome amplification of the delta P1 mutant relative to parental virus was stimulated five- to sixfold. In transgenic plants, the level of accumulation of the delta P1 mutant was stimulated, although the rate of cell-to-cell movement was the same as in nontransgenic plants. Also, the S256A mutant was capable of replication and systemic infection in P1-expressing transgenic plants. These data suggest that, in addition to providing essential processing activity, the P1 proteinase functions in trans to stimulate genome amplification.
The eriophyid mite transmitted Wheat streak mosaic virus (WSMV; genus Tritimovirus, family Potyviridae) shares a common genome organization with aphid transmitted species of the genus Potyvirus. Although both tritimoviruses and potyviruses encode helper component-proteinase (HC-Pro) homologues (required for nonpersistent aphid transmission of potyviruses), sequence conservation is low (amino acid identity, ∼16%), and a role for HC-Pro in semipersistent transmission of WSMV by the wheat curl mite (Aceria tosichella [Keifer]) has not been investigated. Wheat curl mite transmissibility was abolished by replacement of WSMV HC-Pro with homologues of an aphid transmitted potyvirus (Turnip mosaic virus), a rymovirus (Agropyron mosaic virus) vectored by a different eriophyid mite, or a closely related tritimovirus (Oat necrotic mottle virus; ONMV) with no known vector. In contrast, both WSMV-Sidney 81 and a chimeric WSMV genome bearing HC-Pro of a divergent strain (WSMV-El Batán 3; 86% amino acid sequence identity) were efficiently transmitted by A. tosichella. Replacing portions of WSMV-Sidney 81 HC-Pro with the corresponding regions from ONMV showed that determinants of wheat curl mite transmission map to the 5′-proximal half of HC-Pro. WSMV genomes bearing HC-Pro of heterologous species retained the ability to form virions, indicating that loss of vector transmissibility was not a result of failure to encapsidate. Although titer in systemically infected leaves was reduced for all chimeric genomes relative to WSMV-Sidney 81, titer was not correlated with loss of vector transmissibility. Collectively, these results demonstrate for the first time that HC-Pro is required for virus transmission by a vector other than aphids.
The proteins of flaviviruses are translated as a single long polyprotein which is co- and posttranslationally processed by both cellular and viral proteinases. We have studied the processing of flavivirus polyproteins in vitro by a viral proteinase located within protein NS3 that cleaves at least three sites within the nonstructural region of the polyprotein, acting primarily autocatalytically. Recombinant polyproteins in which part of the polyprotein is derived from yellow fever virus and part from dengue virus were used. We found that polyproteins containing the yellow fever virus cleavage sites were processed efficiently by the yellow fever virus enzyme, by the dengue virus enzyme, and by various chimeric enzymes. In contrast, dengue virus cleavage sites were cleaved inefficiently by the dengue virus enzyme and not at all by the yellow fever virus enzyme. Studies with chimeric proteinases and with site-directed mutants provided evidence for a direct interaction between the cleavage sites and the proposed substrate-binding pocket of the enzyme. We also found that the efficiency and order of processing could be altered by site-directed mutagenesis of the proposed substrate-binding pocket.
Mouse hepatitis virus (MHV) is a 31-kb positive-strand RNA virus that is replicated in the cytoplasm of infected cells by a viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, termed the replicase. The replicase is encoded in the 5′-most 22 kb of the genomic RNA, which is translated to produce a polyprotein of >800 kDa. The replicase polyprotein is extensively processed by viral and perhaps cellular proteinases to give rise to a functional replicase complex. To date, two of the MHV replicase-encoded proteinases, papain-like proteinase 1 (PLP1) and the poliovirus 3C-like proteinase (3CLpro), have been shown to process the replicase polyprotein. In this report, we describe the cloning, expression, and activity of the third MHV proteinase domain, PLP2. We show that PLP2 cleaves a substrate encoding the first predicted membrane-spanning domain (MP1) of the replicase polyprotein. Cleavage of MP1 and release of a 150-kDa intermediate, p150, are likely to be important for embedding the replicase complex in cellular membranes. Using an antiserum (anti-D11) directed against the C terminus of the MP1 domain, we verified that p150 encompasses the MP1 domain and identified a 44-kDa protein (p44) as a processed product of p150. Pulse-chase experiments showed that p150 is rapidly generated in MHV-infected cells and that p44 is processed from the p150 precursor. Protease inhibitor studies revealed that unlike 3CLpro activity, PLP2 activity is not sensitive to cysteine protease inhibitor E64d. Furthermore, coexpression studies using the PLP2 domain and a substrate encoding the MP1 cleavage site showed that PLP2 acts efficiently in trans. Site-directed mutagenesis studies confirmed the identification of cysteine 1715 as a catalytic residue of PLP2. This study is the first to report enzymatic activity of the PLP2 domain and to demonstrate that three distinct viral proteinase activities process the MHV replicase polyprotein.
NS3 proteinase of hepatitis C virus (HCV), contained within the N-terminal domain of the NS3 protein, is a chymotrypsin-like serine proteinase responsible for processing of the nonstructural region of the HCV polyprotein. In this study, we examined the sensitivity of the NS3 proteinase to divalent metal ions, which is unusual behavior for this proteinase class. By using a cell-free coupled transcription-translation system, we found that HCV polyprotein processing can be activated by Zn2+ (and, to a lesser degree, by Cd2+, Pb2+, and Co2+) and inhibited by Cu2+ and Hg2+ ions. Elemental analysis of the purified NS3 proteinase domain revealed the presence of zinc in an equimolar ratio. The zinc content was unchanged in a mutated NS3 proteinase in which active-site residues His-57 and Ser-139 were replaced with Ala, suggesting that the zinc atom is not directly involved in catalysis but rather may have a structural role. Based on data from site-directed mutagenesis combined with zinc content determination, we propose that Cys-97, Cys-99, Cys-145, and His-149 coordinate the structural zinc in the HCV NS3 proteinase. A similar metal binding motif is found in 2A proteinases of enteroviruses and rhinoviruses, suggesting that these 2A proteinases and HCV NS3 proteinase are structurally related.
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.
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.
Turnip yellow mosaic virus (TYMV), a positive-strand RNA virus belonging to the alphavirus-like supergroup, encodes its nonstructural replication proteins as a 206K precursor with domains indicative of methyltransferase (MT), proteinase (PRO), NTPase/helicase (HEL), and polymerase (POL) activities. Subsequent processing of 206K generates a 66K protein encompassing the POL domain and uncharacterized 115K and 85K proteins. Here, we demonstrate that TYMV proteinase mediates an additional cleavage between the PRO and HEL domains of the polyprotein, generating the 115K protein and a 42K protein encompassing the HEL domain that can be detected in plant cells using a specific antiserum. Deletion and substitution mutagenesis experiments and sequence comparisons indicate that the scissile bond is located between residues Ser879 and Gln880. The 85K protein is generated by a host proteinase and is likely to result from nonspecific proteolytic degradation occurring during protein sample extraction or analysis. We also report that TYMV proteinase has the ability to process substrates in trans in vivo. Finally, we examined the processing of the 206K protein containing native, mutated, or shuffled cleavage sites and analyzed the effects of cleavage mutations on viral infectivity and RNA synthesis by performing reverse-genetics experiments. We present evidence that PRO/HEL cleavage is critical for productive virus infection and that the impaired infectivity of PRO/HEL cleavage mutants is due mainly to defective synthesis of positive-strand RNA.
The RNA polymerase gene of human coronavirus (HCV) 229E encodes a large polyprotein that contains domains with motifs characteristic of both papain-like cysteine proteinases and proteinases with homology to the 3C proteinase of picornaviruses. In this study, we have, first, expressed the putative HCV 229E 3C-like proteinase domain as part of a beta-galactosidase fusion protein in Escherichia coli and have shown that the expressed protein has proteolytic activity. The substitution of one amino acid within the predicted proteinase domain (His-3006-->Asp-3006) abolishes, or at least significantly reduces, this activity. Amino-terminal sequence analysis of a purified, 34-kDa cleavage product shows that the bacterial fusion protein is cleaved at the dipeptide Gln-2965-Ala-2966, which is the predicted amino-terminal end of the putative 3C-like proteinase domain. Second, we have confirmed the proteolytic activity of a bacterially expressed polypeptide with the amino acid sequence of the predicted HCV 229E 3C-like proteinase by trans cleavage of an in vitro translated polypeptide encoded within open reading frame 1b of the RNA polymerase gene. Finally, using fusion protein-specific antiserum, we have identified a 34-kDa, 3C-like proteinase polypeptide in HCV 229E-infected MRC-5 cells. This polypeptide can be detected as early as 3 to 5 h postinfection but is present in the infected cell in very low amounts. These data contribute to the characterization of the 3C-like proteinase activity of HCV 229E.