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1.  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
2.  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
3.  Regulation of Closterovirus Gene Expression Examined by Insertion of a Self-Processing Reporter and by Northern Hybridization 
Journal of Virology  1999;73(10):7988-7993.
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.
PMCID: PMC112813  PMID: 10482546
4.  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
5.  Movement Protein of a Closterovirus Is a Type III Integral Transmembrane Protein Localized to the Endoplasmic Reticulum 
Journal of Virology  2004;78(7):3704-3709.
Cell-to-cell movement of beet yellows closterovirus requires four structural proteins and a 6-kDa protein (p6) that is a conventional, nonstructural movement protein. Here we demonstrate that either virus infection or p6 overexpression results in association of p6 with the rough endoplasmic reticulum. The p6 protein possesses a single-span, transmembrane, N-terminal domain and a hydrophilic, C-terminal domain that is localized on the cytoplasmic face of the endoplasmic reticulum. In the infected cells, p6 forms a disulfide bridge via a cysteine residue located near the protein's N terminus. Mutagenic analyses indicated that each of the p6 domains, as well as protein dimerization, is essential for p6 function in virus movement.
PMCID: PMC371079  PMID: 15016890
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.  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
8.  Debilitation of plant potyvirus infectivity by P1 proteinase-inactivating mutations and restoration by second-site modifications. 
Journal of Virology  1995;69(3):1582-1590.
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.
PMCID: PMC188753  PMID: 7853492
9.  A Compact Viral Processing Proteinase/Ubiquitin Hydrolase from the OTU Family 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(8):e1003560.
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.
Author Summary
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.
PMCID: PMC3744425  PMID: 23966860
10.  Functions of the tobacco etch virus RNA polymerase (NIb): subcellular transport and protein-protein interaction with VPg/proteinase (NIa). 
Journal of Virology  1997;71(2):1598-1607.
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.
PMCID: PMC191218  PMID: 8995687
11.  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
12.  Spontaneous mutagenesis of a plant potyvirus genome after insertion of a foreign gene. 
Journal of Virology  1993;67(10):5968-5975.
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.
PMCID: PMC238018  PMID: 8371351
13.  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
14.  Hepatitis C virus NS3 serine proteinase: trans-cleavage requirements and processing kinetics. 
Journal of Virology  1994;68(12):8147-8157.
The hepatitis C virus H strain (HCV-H) polyprotein is cleaved to produce at least 10 distinct products, in the order of NH2-C-E1-E2-p7-NS2-NS3-NS4A-NS4B-NS5A-NS5B -COOH. An HCV-encoded serine proteinase activity in NS3 is required for cleavage at four sites in the nonstructural region (3/4A, 4A/4B, 4B/5A, and 5A/5B). In this report, the HCV-H serine proteinase domain (the N-terminal 181 residues of NS3) was tested for its ability to mediate trans-processing at these four sites. By using an NS3-5B substrate with an inactivated serine proteinase domain, trans-cleavage was observed at all sites except for the 3/4A site. Deletion of the inactive proteinase domain led to efficient trans-processing at the 3/4A site. Smaller NS4A-4B and NS5A-5B substrates were processed efficiently in trans; however, cleavage of an NS4B-5A substrate occurred only when the serine proteinase domain was coexpressed with NS4A. Only the N-terminal 35 amino acids of NS4A were required for this activity. Thus, while NS4A appears to be absolutely required for trans-cleavage at the 4B/5A site, it is not an essential cofactor for serine proteinase activity. To begin to examine the conservation (or divergence) of serine proteinase-substrate interactions during HCV evolution, we demonstrated that similar trans-processing occurred when the proteinase domains and substrates were derived from two different HCV subtypes. These results are encouraging for the development of broadly effective HCV serine proteinase inhibitors as antiviral agents. Finally, the kinetics of processing in the nonstructural region was examined by pulse-chase analysis. NS3-containing precursors were absent, indicating that the 2/3 and 3/4A cleavages occur rapidly. In contrast, processing of the NS4A-5B region appeared to involve multiple pathways, and significant quantities of various polyprotein intermediates were observed. NS5B, the putative RNA polymerase, was found to be significantly less stable than the other mature cleavage products. This instability appeared to be an inherent property of NS5B and did not depend on expression of other viral polypeptides, including the HCV-encoded proteinases.
PMCID: PMC237280  PMID: 7966606
15.  Characterization of a human coronavirus (strain 229E) 3C-like proteinase activity. 
Journal of Virology  1995;69(7):4331-4338.
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.
PMCID: PMC189173  PMID: 7769694
16.  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
17.  Proteinase-Polymerase Precursor as the Active Form of Feline Calicivirus RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase 
Journal of Virology  2001;75(3):1211-1219.
The objective of this study was to identify the active form of the feline calicivirus (FCV) RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP). Multiple active forms of the FCV RdRP were identified. The most active enzyme was the full-length proteinase-polymerase (Pro-Pol) precursor protein, corresponding to amino acids 1072 to 1763 of the FCV polyprotein encoded by open reading frame 1 of the genome. Deletion of 163 amino acids from the amino terminus of Pro-Pol (the Val-1235 amino terminus) caused a threefold reduction in polymerase activity. Deletion of an additional one (the Thr-1236 amino terminus) or two (the Ala-1237 amino terminus) amino acids produced derivatives that were 7- and 175-fold, respectively, less active than Pro-Pol. FCV proteinase-dependent processing of Pro-Pol in the interdomain region preceding Val-1235 was not observed in the presence of a catalytically active proteinase; however, processing within the polymerase domain was observed. Inactivation of proteinase activity by changing the catalytic cysteine-1193 to glycine permitted the production and purification of intact Pro-Pol. Biochemical analysis of Pro-Pol showed that this enzyme has properties expected of a replicative polymerase, suggesting that Pro-Pol is an active form of the FCV RdRP.
PMCID: PMC114027  PMID: 11152494
18.  Processing of in vitro-synthesized gag precursor proteins of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 by HIV proteinase generated in Escherichia coli. 
Journal of Virology  1988;62(11):4393-4397.
We expressed the gag and proteinase regions of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 by transcription and translation in vitro. A synthetic RNA spanning the gag and pro domains gave primarily the unprocessed capsid precursor pr53. Efficient cleavage of this precursor was observed when the gag and pro domains were placed in the same translational reading frame, yielding equimolar amounts of the gag protein and of proteinase (PR). Expression of HIV type 1 PR in Escherichia coli as a fusion protein gave rapid autocatalytic processing to an HIV-specific protein of approximately 11 kilodaltons. HIV PR generated in E. coli specifically induced cleavage of the HIV capsid precursor, whereas deletion of the carboxy-terminal 17 amino acids of the proteinase rendered it inactive. Inhibitor studies showed that the enzyme was insensitive to inhibitors of serine and cysteine proteinases and metalloproteinases and was inhibited only by a very high concentration (1 mM) of pepstatin A.
PMCID: PMC253881  PMID: 3050149
19.  Alternative initiation and splicing in dicer gene expression in human breast cells 
Breast Cancer Research  2005;7(4):R563-R569.
Dicer is a ribonuclease that mediates RNA interference both at the transcriptional and the post-transcriptional levels. Human dicer gene expression is regulated in different tissues. Dicer is responsible for the synthesis of microRNAs and short temporal (st)RNAs that regulate the expression of many genes. Thus, understanding the control of the expression of the dicer gene is essential for the appreciation of double-stranded (ds)RNA-mediated pathways of gene expression. Human dicer mRNA has many upstream open reading frames (uORFs) at the 5'-leader sequences (the nucleotide sequence between the 5'-end and the start codon of the major ORF), and we studied whether these elements at the 5'-leader sequences regulate the expression of the dicer gene.
We determined the 5'-leader sequences of the dicer mRNAs in human breast cells by 5'-RACE and S1-nuclease protection analysis. We have analyzed the functions of the 5'-leader variants by reporter gene expression in vitro and in vivo.
We found that the dicer transcripts in human breast cells vary in the sequence of their 5'-leader sequences, and that alternative promoter selection along with alternative splicing of the 5'-terminal exons apparently generate these variations. The breast cell has at least two predominant forms of dicer mRNAs, one of which has an additional 110 nucleotides at the 5'-end. Sequence comparison revealed that the first 80 nucleotides of these mRNA isoforms are encoded by a new exon located approximately 16 kb upstream of the reported start site. There are 30 extra nucleotides added to the previously reported exon 1. The human breast cells studied predominantly express two 5'-leader variants of dicer mRNAs, one with the exons 2 and 3 (long form) and the other without them (short form). By reporter gene expression analysis we found that the exon 2 and 3 sequences at the 5'-leader sequences are greatly inhibitory for the translation of the mRNA into protein.
Dicer gene expression in human breast cells is regulated by alternative promoter selection to alter the length and composition of the 5'-leader sequence of its mRNA. Furthermore, alternative splicing of its exon 2 and 3 sequences of their pre-mRNA creates a more translationally competent mRNA in these cells.
PMCID: PMC1175071  PMID: 15987463
20.  Proteolytic Processing of Turnip Yellow Mosaic Virus Replication Proteins and Functional Impact on Infectivity▿  
Journal of Virology  2007;81(20):11402-11412.
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.
PMCID: PMC2045563  PMID: 17686855
21.  Eukaryotic release factor 1 (eRF1) abolishes readthrough and competes with suppressor tRNAs at all three termination codons in messenger RNA. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1997;25(12):2254-2258.
It is known from experiments with bacteria and eukaryotic viruses that readthrough of termination codons located within the open reading frame (ORF) of mRNAs depends on the availability of suppressor tRNA(s) and the efficiency of termination in cells. Consequently, the yield of readthrough products can be used as a measure of the activity of polypeptide chain release factor(s) (RF), key components of the translation termination machinery. Readthrough of the UAG codon located at the end of the ORF encoding the coat protein of beet necrotic yellow vein furovirus is required for virus replication. Constructs harbouring this suppressible UAG codon and derivatives containing a UGA or UAA codon in place of the UAG codon have been used in translation experiments in vitro in the absence or presence of human suppressor tRNAs. Readthrough can be virtually abolished by addition of bacterially-expressed eukaryotic RF1 (eRF1). Thus, eRF1 is functional towards all three termination codons located in a natural mRNA and efficiently competes in vitro with endogenous and exogenous suppressor tRNA(s) at the ribosomal A site. These results are consistent with a crucial role of eRF1 in translation termination and forms the essence of an in vitro assay for RF activity based on the abolishment of readthrough by eRF1.
PMCID: PMC146740  PMID: 9171074
22.  Molecular Basis for Mitochondrial Localization of Viral Particles during Beet Necrotic Yellow Vein Virus Infection 
Journal of Virology  2005;79(15):9991-10002.
During infection, Beet necrotic yellow vein virus (BNYVV) particles localize transiently to the cytosolic surfaces of mitochondria. To understand the molecular basis and significance of this localization, we analyzed the targeting and membrane insertion properties of the viral proteins. ORF1 of BNYVV RNA-2 encodes the 21-kDa major coat protein, while ORF2 codes for a 75-kDa minor coat protein (P75) by readthrough of the ORF1 stop codon. Bioinformatic analysis highlighted a putative mitochondrial targeting sequence (MTS) as well as a major (TM1) and two minor (TM3 and TM4) transmembrane regions in the N-terminal part of the P75 readthrough domain. Deletion and gain-of-function analyses based on the localization of green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusions showed that the MTS was able to direct a reporter protein to mitochondria but that the protein was not persistently anchored to the organelles. GFP fused either to MTS and TM1 or to MTS and TM3-TM4 efficiently and specifically associated with mitochondria in vivo. The actual role of the individual domains in the interaction with the mitochondria seemed to be determined by the folding of P75. Anchoring assays to the outer membranes of isolated mitochondria, together with in vivo data, suggest that the TM3-TM4 domain is the membrane anchor in the context of full-length P75. All of the domains involved in mitochondrial targeting and anchoring were also indispensable for encapsidation, suggesting that the assembly of BNYVV particles occurs on mitochondria. Further data show that virions are subsequently released from mitochondria and accumulate in the cytosol.
PMCID: PMC1181617  PMID: 16014959
23.  Analysis of the VPg-proteinase (NIa) encoded by tobacco etch potyvirus: effects of mutations on subcellular transport, proteolytic processing, and genome amplification. 
Journal of Virology  1996;70(10):7039-7048.
A mutational analysis was conducted to investigate the functions of the tobacco etch potyvirus VPg-proteinase (NIa) protein in vivo. The NIa N-terminal domain contains the VPg attachment site, whereas the C-terminal domain contains a picornavirus 3C-like proteinase. Cleavage at an internal site separating the two domains occurs in a subset of NIa molecules. The majority of NIa molecules in TEV-infected cells accumulate within the nucleus. By using a reporter fusion strategy, the NIa nuclear localization signal was mapped to a sequence within amino acid residues 40 to 49 in the VPg domain. Mutations resulting in debilitation of NIa nuclear translocation also debilitated genome amplification, suggesting that the NLS overlaps a region critical for RNA replication. The internal cleavage site was shown to be a poor substrate for NIa proteolysis because of a suboptimal sequence context around the scissile bond. Mutants that encoded NIa variants with accelerated internal proteolysis exhibited genome amplification defects, supporting the hypothesis that slow internal processing provides a regulatory function. Mutations affecting the VPg attachment site and proteinase active-site residues resulted in amplification-defective viruses. A transgenic complementation assay was used to test whether NIa supplied in trans could rescue amplification-defective viral genomes encoding altered NIa proteins. Neither cells expressing NIa alone nor cells expressing a series of NIa-containing polyproteins supported increased levels of amplification of the mutants. The lack of complementation of NIa-defective mutants is in contrast to previous results obtained with RNA polymerase (NIb)-defective mutants, which were relatively efficiently rescued in the transgenic complementation assay. It is suggested that, unlike NIb polymerase, NIa provides replicative functions that are cis preferential.
PMCID: PMC190754  PMID: 8794348
24.  Identification of the catalytic sites of a papain-like cysteine proteinase of murine coronavirus. 
Journal of Virology  1993;67(10):6056-6063.
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.
PMCID: PMC238026  PMID: 8396668
25.  Nucleotide sequence of beet western yellows virus RNA. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1988;16(21):9917-9932.
The nucleotide sequence of the genomic RNA (5641 nt) of beet western yellow virus (BWYV) isolated from lettuce has been determined and its genetic organization deduced. The sequence of the 3'terminal 2208 nt of RNA of a second BWYV isolate, obtained from sugarbeet, was also determined and was found to be very similar but not identical to that of the lettuce isolate. The complete sequence of BWYV RNA contains six long open reading frames (ORFs). A cluster of three of these ORFs, including the coat protein cistron, display extensive amino acid sequence homology with corresponding ORFs of a second luteovirus, the PAV isolate of barley yellow dwarf virus (BYDV) (1,2). The ORF corresponding to the putative viral RNA-dependant RNA polymerase, on the other hand, resembles that of southern bean mosaic virus. There is circumstantial evidence that expression of the BWYV RNA polymerase ORF may involve a translational frameshift mechanism. The ORF immediately following the coat protein cistron may be translated by in-frame readthrough of the coat protein cistron amber termination codon. Similar mechanisms have been proposed for expression of the corresponding ORFs of BYDV(PAV) (1).
PMCID: PMC338827  PMID: 3194229

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