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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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 murine coronavirus mouse hepatitis virus gene 1 is expressed as a polyprotein, which is cleaved into multiple proteins posttranslationally. One of the proteins is p28, which represents the amino-terminal portion of the polyprotein and is presumably generated by the activity of an autoproteinase domain of the polyprotein (S. C. Baker, C. K. Shieh, L. H. Soe, M.-F. Chang, D. M. Vannier, and M. M. C. Lai, J. Virol. 63:3693-3699, 1989). In this study, the boundaries and the critical amino acid residues of this putative proteinase domain were characterized by deletion analysis and site-directed mutagenesis. Proteinase activity was monitored by examining the generation of p28 during in vitro translation in rabbit reticulocyte lysates. Deletion analysis defined the proteinase domain to be within the sequences encoded from the 3.6- to 4.4-kb region from the 5' end of the genome. A 0.7-kb region between the substrate (p28) and proteinase domain could be deleted without affecting the proteolytic cleavage. However, a larger deletion (1.6 kb) resulted in the loss of proteinase activity, suggesting the importance of spacing sequences between proteinase and substrate. Computer-assisted analysis of the amino acid sequence of the proteinase domain identified potential catalytic cysteine and histidine residues in a stretch of sequence distantly related to papain-like cysteine proteinases. The role of these putative catalytic residues in the proteinase activity was studied by site-specific mutagenesis. Mutations of Cys-1137 or His-1288 led to a complete loss of proteinase activity, implicating these residues as essential for the catalytic activity. In contrast, most mutations of His-1317 or Cys-1172 had no or only minor effects on proteinase activity. This study establishes that mouse hepatitis virus gene 1 encodes a proteinase domain, in the region from 3.6 to 4.4 kb from the 5' end of the genome, which resembles members of the papain family of cysteine proteinases and that this proteinase domain is responsible for the cleavage of the N-terminal peptide.
The RNA genome of tobacco etch potyvirus (TEV) was engineered to express bacterial beta-glucuronidase (GUS) fused to the virus helper component proteinase (HC-Pro). It was shown previously that prolonged periods (approximately 1 month) of TEV-GUS propagation in plants resulted in the appearance of spontaneous deletion variants. Nine deletion mutants were identified by nucleotide sequence analysis of 40 cDNA clones obtained after polymerase chain reaction amplification. The mutants were missing between 1,741 and 2,074 nucleotides from TEV-GUS, including the sequences coding for most of GUS and the N-terminal region of HC-Pro. This region of HC-Pro contains determinants involved in helper component activity during aphid transmission, as well as a highly conserved series of cysteine residues. The deletion variants were shown to replicate and move systemically without the aid of a helper virus. Infectious viruses harboring the two largest HC-Pro deletions (termed TEV-2del and TEV-7del) were reconstructed by subcloning the corresponding mutated regions into full-length DNA copies of the TEV genome. Characterization of these and additional variants derived by site-directed mutagenesis demonstrated that deletion of sequences coding for the HC-Pro N-terminal domain had a negative effect on accumulation of viral RNA and coat protein. The TEV-2del variant possessed an aphid-nontransmissible phenotype that could be rescued partially by prefeeding of aphids on active HC-Pro from another potyvirus. These data suggest that the N-terminal domain of HC-Pro or its coding sequence enhances virus replication or genome expression but does not provide an activity essential for these processes. The function of this domain, as well as a proposed deletion mechanism involving nonhomologous recombination, is discussed.
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.
Hypovirus infection of the chestnut blight fungus Cryphonectria parasitica results in a spectrum of phenotypic changes that can include alterations in colony morphology and significant reductions in pigmentation, asexual sporulation, and virulence (hypovirulence). Deletion of 88% [Phe(25) to Pro(243)] of the virus-encoded papain-like protease, p29, in the context of an infectious cDNA clone of the prototypic hypovirus CHV1-EP713 (recombinant virus Δp29) partially relieved virus-mediated suppression of pigmentation and sporulation without altering the level of hypovirulence. We now report mapping of the p29 symptom determinant domain to a region extending from Phe(25) through Gln(73) by a gain-of-function analysis following progressive repair of the Δp29 deletion mutant. This domain was previously shown to share sequence similarity [including conserved cysteine residues Cys(38), Cys(48), Cys(70), and Cys(72)] with the N-terminal portion of the potyvirus-encoded helper component-proteinase (HC-Pro), a multifunctional protein implicated in aphid-mediated transmission, genome amplification, polyprotein processing, long-distance movement, and suppression of posttranscriptional silencing. Substitution of a glycine residue for either Cys(38) or Cys(48) resulted in no qualitative or quantitative changes in virus-mediated symptoms. Unexpectedly, mutation of Cys(70) resulted in a very severe phenotype that included significantly reduced mycelial growth and profoundly altered colony morphology. In contrast, substitution for Cys(72) resulted in a less severe symptom phenotype approaching that observed for Δp29. The finding that p29-mediated symptom expression is influenced by two cysteine residues that are conserved in the potyvirus-encoded HC-Pro raises the possibility that these related viral-papain-like proteases function in their respective fungal and plant hosts by impacting ancestrally related regulatory pathways.
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.
The NIb protein of tobacco etch potyvirus (TEV) possesses several functions, including RNA-dependent RNA polymerase and nuclear translocation activities. Using a reporter protein fusion strategy, NIb was shown to contain two independent nuclear localization signals (NLS I and NLS II). NLS I was mapped to a sequence within amino acid residues 1 to 17, and NLS II was identified between residues 292 and 316. Clustered point mutations resulting in substitutions of basic residues within the NLSs were shown previously to disrupt nuclear translocation activity. These mutations also abolished TEV RNA amplification when introduced into the viral genome. The amplification defects caused by each NLS mutation were complemented in trans within transgenic cells expressing functional NIb, although the level of complementation detected for each mutant differed significantly. Combined with previous results (X. H. Li and J. C. Carrington, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 92:457-461, 1995), these data suggest that the NLSs overlap with essential regions necessary for NIb trans-active function(s). The fact that NIb functions in trans implies that it must interact with one or more other components of the genome replication apparatus. A yeast two-hybrid system was used to investigate physical interactions between NIb and several other TEV replication proteins, including the multifunctional VPg/proteinase NIa and the RNA helicase CI. A specific interaction was detected between NIa and NIb. Deletion of any of five regions spanning the NIb sequence resulted in NIb variants that were unable to interact with NIa. Clustered point mutations affecting the conserved GDD motif or NLS II within the central region of NIb, but not mutations affecting NLS I near the N terminus, reduced or eliminated the interaction. The C-terminal proteinase (Pro) domain of NIa, but not the N-terminal VPg domain, interacted with NIb. The effects of NIb mutations within NLS I, NLS II, and the GDD motif on the interaction between the Pro domain and NIb were identical to the effects of these mutations on the interaction between full-length NIa and NIb. These data are compatible with a model in which NIb is directed to replication complexes through an interaction with the Pro domain of NIa.
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.
Gill-associated virus (GAV), a positive-stranded RNA virus of prawns, is the prototype of newly recognized taxa (genus Okavirus, family Roniviridae) within the order Nidovirales. In this study, a putative GAV cysteine proteinase (3C-like proteinase [3CLpro]), which is predicted to be the key enzyme involved in processing of the GAV replicase polyprotein precursors, pp1a and pp1ab, was characterized. Comparative sequence analysis indicated that, like its coronavirus homologs, 3CLpro has a three-domain organization and is flanked by hydrophobic domains. The putative 3CLpro domain including flanking regions (pp1a residues 2793 to 3143) was fused to the Escherichia coli maltose-binding protein (MBP) and, when expressed in E. coli, was found to possess N-terminal autoprocessing activity that was not dependent on the presence of the 3CLpro C-terminal domain. N-terminal sequence analysis of the processed protein revealed that cleavage occurred at the location 2827LVTHE↓VRTGN2836. The trans-processing activity of the purified recombinant 3CLpro (pp1a residues 2832 to 3126) was used to identify another cleavage site, 6441KVNHE↓LYHVA6450, in the C-terminal pp1ab region. Taken together, the data tentatively identify VxHE↓(L,V) as the substrate consensus sequence for the GAV 3CLpro. The study revealed that the GAV and potyvirus 3CLpros possess similar substrate specificities which correlate with structural similarities in their respective substrate-binding sites, identified in sequence comparisons. Analysis of the proteolytic activities of MBP-3CLpro fusion proteins carrying replacements of putative active-site residues provided evidence that, in contrast to most other 3C/3CLpros but in common with coronavirus 3CLpros, the GAV 3CLpro employs a Cys2968-His2879 catalytic dyad. The properties of the GAV 3CLpro define a novel RNA virus proteinase variant that bridges the gap between the distantly related chymotrypsin-like cysteine proteinases of coronaviruses and potyviruses.
To study the role of specific regions of the yellow fever virus NS2B protein in proteolytic processing and association with the NS3 proteinase domain, a series of mutations were created in the hydrophobic regions and in a central conserved hydrophilic region proposed as a domain important for NS2B function. The effects of these mutations on cis cleavage at the 2B/3 cleavage site and on processing at other consensus cleavage sites for the NS3 proteinase in the nonstructural region were then characterized by cell-free translation and transient expression in BHK cells. Association between NS2B and the NS3 proteinase domain and the effects of mutations on complex formation were investigated by nondenaturing immunoprecipitation of these proteins expressed in infected cells, by cell-free translation, or by recombinant vaccinia viruses. Mutations within the hydrophobic regions had subtle effects on proteolytic processing, whereas mutations within the conserved domain dramatically reduced cleavage efficiency or abolished all cleavages. The conserved domain of NS2B is also implicated in formation of an NS2B-NS3 complex on the basis of the ability of mutations in this region to eliminate both association of these two proteins and trans-cleavage activity. In addition, mutations which either eliminated proteolytic processing or had no apparent effect on processing were found to abolish recovery of infectious virus following RNA transfection. These results suggest that the conserved region of NS2B is a domain essential for the function of the NS3 proteinase. Hydrophobic regions of NS2B whose structural integrity may not be essential for proteolytic processing may have additional functions during viral replication.