Primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) is an inherited disorder characterized by recurrent infections of the upper and lower respiratory tract, reduced fertility in males and situs inversus in about 50% of affected individuals (Kartagener syndrome). It is caused by motility defects in the respiratory cilia that are responsible for airway clearance, the flagella that propel sperm cells and the nodal monocilia that determine left-right asymmetry1. Recessive mutations that cause PCD have been identified in genes encoding components of the outer dynein arms, radial spokes and cytoplasmic pre-assembly factors of axonemal dyneins, but these mutations account for only about 50% of cases of PCD. We exploited the unique properties of dog populations to positionally clone a new PCD gene, CCDC39. We found that loss-of-function mutations in the human ortholog underlie a substantial fraction of PCD cases with axonemal disorganization and abnormal ciliary beating. Functional analyses indicated that CCDC39 localizes to ciliary axonemes and is essential for assembly of inner dynein arms and the dynein regulatory complex.
Cilia/flagella are highly conserved organelles that play diverse roles in cell motility and sensing extracellular signals. Motility defects in cilia/flagella often result in primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD). However, the mechanisms underlying cilia formation and function, and in particular the cytoplasmic assembly of dyneins that power ciliary motility, are only poorly understood. Here we report a novel gene, kintoun (ktu), involved in this cytoplasmic process. This gene was first identified in a medaka mutant, and found to be mutated in PCD patients from two affected families as well as in the pf13 mutant of Chlamydomonas. In the absence of Ktu/PF13, both outer and inner dynein arms are missing or defective in the axoneme, leading to a loss of motility. Biochemical and immunohistochemical studies show that Ktu/PF13 is one of the long-sought proteins involved in pre-assembly of dynein arm complexes in the cytoplasm before intraflagellar transport loads them for the ciliary compartment.
Foamy viruses (FVs) unlike orthoretroviruses express Pol as a separate precursor protein and not as a Gag-Pol fusion protein. A unique packaging strategy, involving recognition of briding viral RNA by both Pol precursor and Gag as well as potential Gag-Pol protein interactions, ensures Pol particle encapsidation.
Several Prototype FV (PFV) Gag-Pol fusion protein constructs were generated to examine whether PFV replication is compatible with an orthoretroviral-like Pol expression. During their analysis, non-particle-associated secreted Pol precursor protein was discovered in extracellular wild type PFV particle preparations of different origin, copurifying in simple virion enrichment protocols. Different analysis methods suggest that extracellular wild type PFV particles contain predominantly mature p85PR-RT and p40IN Pol subunits. Characterization of various PFV Gag-Pol fusion constructs revealed that PFV Pol expression in an orthoretroviral manner is compatible with PFV replication as long as a proteolytic processing between Gag and Pol proteins is possible. PFV Gag-Pol translation by a HIV-1 like ribosomal frameshift signal resulted in production of replication-competent virions, although cell- and particle-associated Pol levels were reduced in comparison to wild type. In-frame fusion of PFV Gag and Pol ORFs led to increased cellular Pol levels, but particle incorporation was only marginally elevated. Unlike that reported for similar orthoretroviral constructs, a full-length in-frame PFV Gag-Pol fusion construct showed wildtype-like particle release and infectivity characteristics. In contrast, in-frame PFV Gag-Pol fusion with C-terminal Gag ORF truncations or non-removable Gag peptide addition to Pol displayed wildtype particle release, but reduced particle infectivity. PFV Gag-Pol precursor fusion proteins with inactivated protease were highly deficient in regular particle release, although coexpression of p71Gag resulted in a significant copackaging of these proteins.
Non-particle associated PFV Pol appears to be naturally released from infected cells by a yet unknown mechanism. The absence of particle-associated Pol precursor suggests its rapid processing upon particle incorporation. Analysis of different PFV Gag-Pol fusion constructs demonstrates that orthoretroviral-like Pol expression is compatible with FV replication in principal as long as fusion protein processing is possible. Furthermore, unlike orthoretroviruses, PFV particle release and infectivity tolerate larger differences in relative cellular Gag/Pol levels.
Foamy virus; Gag-Pol fusion protein; retroviral morphogenesis; capsid assembly; Pol processing
The (CTG)n polymorphism in the serum carnosinase (CN-1) gene affects CN-1 secretion. Since CN-1 is heavily glycosylated and glycosylation might influence protein secretion as well, we tested the role of N-glycosylation for CN-1 secretion and enzyme activity. We also tested whether CN-1 secretion is changed under hyperglycemic conditions.
N-glycosylation of CN-1 was either inhibited by tunicamycin in pCSII-CN-1–transfected Cos-7 cells or by stepwise deletion of its three putative N-glycosylation sites. CN-1 protein expression, N-glycosylation, and enzyme activity were assessed in cell extracts and supernatants. The influence of hyperglycemia on CN-1 enzyme activity in human serum was tested in homozygous (CTG)5 diabetic patients and healthy control subjects.
Tunicamycin completely inhibited CN-1 secretion. Deletion of all N-glycosylation sites was required to reduce CN-1 secretion efficiency. Enzyme activity was already diminished when two sites were deleted. In pCSII-CN-1–transfected Cos-7 cells cultured in medium containing 25 mmol/l d-glucose, the immature 61 kilodaltons (kDa) CN-1 immune reactive band was not detected. This was paralleled by an increased GlcNAc expression in cell lysates and CN-1 expression in the supernatants. Homozygous (CTG)5 diabetic patients had significantly higher serum CN-1 activity compared with genotype-matched, healthy control subjects.
We conclude that apart from the (CTG)n polymorphism in the signal peptide of CN-1, N-glycosylation is essential for appropriate secretion and enzyme activity. Since hyperglycemia enhances CN-1 secretion and enzyme activity, our data suggest that poor blood glucose control in diabetic patients might result in an increased CN-1 secretion even in the presence of the (CTG)5 allele.
Prototype foamy virus (PFV) Gag lacks the characteristic orthoretroviral Cys-His motifs that are essential for various steps of the orthoretroviral replication cycle, such as RNA packaging, reverse transcription, infectivity, integration, and viral assembly. Instead, it contains three glycine-arginine-rich boxes (GR boxes) in its C terminus that putatively represent a functional equivalent. We used a four-plasmid replication-deficient PFV vector system, with uncoupled RNA genome packaging and structural protein translation, to analyze the effects of deletion and various substitution mutations within each GR box on particle release, particle-associated protein composition, RNA packaging, DNA content, infectivity, particle morphology, and intracellular localization. The degree of viral particle release by all mutants was similar to that of the wild type. Only minimal effects on Pol encapsidation, exogenous reverse transcriptase (RT) activity, and genomic viral RNA packaging were observed. In contrast, particle-associated DNA content and infectivity were drastically reduced for all deletion mutants and were undetectable for all alanine substitution mutants. Furthermore, GR box I mutants had significant changes in particle morphology, and GR box II mutants lacked the typical nuclear localization pattern of PFV Gag. Finally, it could be shown that GR boxes I and III, but not GR box II, can functionally complement each other. It therefore appears that, similar to the orthoretroviral Cys-His motifs, the PFV Gag GR boxes are important for RNA encapsidation, genome reverse transcription, and virion infectivity as well as for particle morphogenesis.
Joubert syndrome (JBTS) is characterized by a specific brain malformation with various additional pathologies. It results from mutations in any one of at least 10 different genes, including NPHP1, which encodes nephrocystin-1. JBTS has been linked to dysfunction of primary cilia, since the gene products known to be associated with the disorder localize to this evolutionarily ancient organelle. Here we report the identification of a disease locus, JBTS12, with mutations in the KIF7 gene, an ortholog of the Drosophila kinesin Costal2, in a consanguineous JBTS family and subsequently in other JBTS patients. Interestingly, KIF7 is a known regulator of Hedgehog signaling and a putative ciliary motor protein. We found that KIF7 co-precipitated with nephrocystin-1. Further, knockdown of KIF7 expression in cell lines caused defects in cilia formation and induced abnormal centrosomal duplication and fragmentation of the Golgi network. These cellular phenotypes likely resulted from abnormal tubulin acetylation and microtubular dynamics. Thus, we suggest that modified microtubule stability and growth direction caused by loss of KIF7 function may be an underlying disease mechanism contributing to JBTS.
Nephronophthisis is the most common genetic cause of end-stage renal failure during childhood and adolescence. Genetic studies have identified disease-causing mutations in at least 11 different genes (NPHP1–11), but the function of the corresponding nephrocystin proteins remains poorly understood. The two evolutionarily conserved proteins nephrocystin-1 (NPHP1) and nephrocystin-4 (NPHP4) interact and localize to cilia in kidney, retina, and brain characterizing nephronophthisis and associated pathologies as result of a ciliopathy. Here we show that NPHP4, but not truncating patient mutations, negatively regulates tyrosine phosphorylation of NPHP1. NPHP4 counteracts Pyk2-mediated phosphorylation of three defined tyrosine residues of NPHP1 thereby controlling binding of NPHP1 to the trans-Golgi sorting protein PACS-1. Knockdown of NPHP4 resulted in an accumulation of NPHP1 in trans-Golgi vesicles of ciliated retinal epithelial cells. These data strongly suggest that NPHP4 acts upstream of NPHP1 in a common pathway and support the concept of a role for nephrocystin proteins in intracellular vesicular transport.
Centrosome; Epithelium; Golgi; Protein-tyrosine Kinase (Tyrosine Kinase); Vesicles; Pyk2; Cilium; Cystic Kidney Disease; Nephrocystin
Interphase nuclear architecture is disrupted and rapidly reformed with each cell division cycle. Successive cell generations exhibit a “memory” of this nuclear architecture, as well as for gene expression. Furthermore, many features of nuclear and mitotic chromosome structure are recognizably species and tissue specific. We wish to know what properties of the underlying chromatin structure may determine these conserved features of nuclear architecture. Employing a particular mouse autoimmune anti-nucleosome monoclonal antibody (PL2-6), combined with deconvolution immunofluorescence microscopy, we present evidence for a unique epitope (involving a ternary complex of histones H2A and H2B and DNA) which is localized only at the exterior chromatin surface of interphase nuclei and mitotic chromosomes in mammalian, invertebrate and plant systems. As only the surface chromatin region is identified with antibody PL2-6, we have assigned it the name “epichromatin”. We describe an “epichromatin hypothesis”, suggesting that epichromatin may have a unique evolutionary conserved conformation which facilitates interaction with the reforming post-mitotic nuclear envelope and a rapid return of interphase nuclear architecture.
interphase nuclear architecture; mitotic chromosomes; chromatin; epichromatin; evolution
The rat parvovirus H-1 (H-1PV) attracts high attention as an anticancer agent, because it is not pathogenic for humans and has oncotropic and oncosuppressive properties. The viral nonstructural NS1 protein is thought to mediate H-1PV cytotoxicity, but its exact contribution to this process remains undefined. In this study, we analyzed the effects of the H-1PV NS1 protein on human cell proliferation and cell viability. We show that NS1 expression is sufficient to induce the accumulation of cells in G2 phase, apoptosis via caspase 9 and 3 activation, and cell lysis. Similarly, cells infected with wild-type H-1PV arrest in G2 phase and undergo apoptosis. Furthermore, we also show that both expression of NS1 and H-1PV infection lead to higher levels of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS), associated with DNA double-strand breaks. Antioxidant treatment reduces ROS levels and strongly decreases NS1- and virus-induced DNA damage, cell cycle arrest, and apoptosis, indicating that NS1-induced ROS are important mediators of H-1PV cytotoxicity.
The foamy virus (FV) replication cycle displays several unique features, which set them apart from orthoretroviruses. First, like other B/D type orthoretroviruses, FV capsids preassemble at the centrosome, but more similar to hepadnaviruses, FV budding is strictly dependent on cognate viral glycoprotein coexpression. Second, the unusually broad host range of FV is thought to be due to use of a very common entry receptor present on host cell plasma membranes, because all cell lines tested in vitro so far are permissive.
In order to take advantage of modern fluorescent microscopy techniques to study FV replication, we have created FV Gag proteins bearing a variety of protein tags and evaluated these for their ability to support various steps of FV replication. Addition of even small N-terminal HA-tags to FV Gag severely impaired FV particle release. For example, release was completely abrogated by an N-terminal autofluorescent protein (AFP) fusion, despite apparently normal intracellular capsid assembly. In contrast, C-terminal Gag-tags had only minor effects on particle assembly, egress and particle morphogenesis. The infectivity of C-terminal capsid-tagged FV vector particles was reduced up to 100-fold in comparison to wild type; however, infectivity was rescued by coexpression of wild type Gag and assembly of mixed particles. Specific dose-dependent binding of fluorescent FV particles to target cells was demonstrated in an Env-dependent manner, but not binding to target cell-extracted- or synthetic- lipids. Screening of target cells of various origins resulted in the identification of two cell lines, a human erythroid precursor- and a zebrafish- cell line, resistant to FV Env-mediated FV- and HIV-vector transduction.
We have established functional, autofluorescent foamy viral particles as a valuable new tool to study FV - host cell interactions using modern fluorescent imaging techniques. Furthermore, we succeeded for the first time in identifying two cell lines resistant to Prototype Foamy Virus Env-mediated gene transfer. Interestingly, both cell lines still displayed FV Env-dependent attachment of fluorescent retroviral particles, implying a post-binding block potentially due to lack of putative FV entry cofactors. These cell lines might ultimately lead to the identification of the currently unknown ubiquitous cellular entry receptor(s) of FVs.
The major blood granulocyte (neutrophil) is rapidly recruited to sites of bacterial and fungal infections. It is a highly malleable cell, allowing it to squeeze out of blood vessels and migrate through tight tissue spaces. The human granulocyte nucleus is lobulated and exhibits a paucity of nuclear lamins, increasing its capability for deformation. The present study examined the existence of protein connections between the nuclear envelope and cytoskeletal elements (the LINC complex) in differentiated cell states (i.e. granulocytic, monocytic and macrophage) of the human leukemic cell line HL-60, as well as in human blood leukocytes. HL-60 granulocytes exhibited a deficiency of several LINC complex proteins (i.e. nesprin 1 giant, nesprin 2 giant, SUN1, plectin and vimentin); whereas, the macrophage state revealed nesprin 1 giant, plectin and vimentin. Both states possessed SUN2 in the nuclear envelope. Parallel differences were observed with some of the LINC complex proteins in isolated human blood leukocytes, including macrophage cells derived from blood monocytes. The present study documenting the paucity of LINC complex proteins in granulocytic forms, in combination with previous data on granulocyte nuclear shape and nuclear envelope composition, suggest the hypothesis that these adaptations evolved to facilitate granulocyte cellular malleability.
Neutrophil; Monocyte; Macrophage; Nuclear envelope; Cytoskeleton
Maturation of enterocytes along the small intestinal crypt-villus axis is associated with significant changes in gene expression profiles. fls485 coding a putative chaperone protein has been recently suggested as a gene involved in this process. The aim of the present study was to analyze fls485 expression in human small intestinal mucosa.
fls485 expression in purified normal or intestinal mucosa affected with celiac disease was investigated with a molecular approach including qRT-PCR, Western blotting, and expression strategies. Molecular data were corroborated with several in situ techniques and usage of newly synthesized mouse monoclonal antibodies.
fls485 mRNA expression was preferentially found in enterocytes and chromaffine cells of human intestinal mucosa as well as in several cell lines including Rko, Lovo, and CaCo2 cells. Western blot analysis with our new anti-fls485 antibodies revealed at least two fls485 proteins. In a functional CaCo2 model, an increase in fls485 expression was paralleled by cellular maturation stage. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated fls485 as a cytosolic protein with a slightly increasing expression gradient along the crypt-villus axis which was impaired in celiac disease Marsh IIIa-c.
Expression and synthesis of fls485 are found in surface lining epithelia of normal human intestinal mucosa and deriving epithelial cell lines. An interdependence of enterocyte differentiation along the crypt-villus axis and fls485 chaperone activity might be possible.
Primary microcephaly, Seckel syndrome, and microcephalic osteodysplastic primordial dwarfism type II (MOPD II) are disorders exhibiting marked microcephaly, with small brain sizes reflecting reduced neuron production during fetal life. Although primary microcephaly can be caused by mutations in microcephalin (MCPH1), cells from patients with Seckel syndrome and MOPD II harbor mutations in ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3 related (ATR) or pericentrin (PCNT), leading to disturbed ATR signaling. In this study, we show that a lack of MCPH1 or PCNT results in a loss of Chk1 from centrosomes with subsequently deregulated activation of centrosomal cyclin B–Cdk1.
The human blood granulocyte (neutrophil) is adapted to find and destroy infectious agents. The nucleus of the human neutrophil has a segmented appearance, consisting of a linear or branched array of three or four lobes. Adequate levels of lamin B receptor (LBR) are necessary for differentiation of the lobulated nucleus. The levels of other components of the nuclear envelope may also be important for nuclear shape determination. In the present study, immunostaining and immunoblotting procedures explored the levels of various components of the nuclear envelope and heterochromatin, comparing freshly isolated human neutrophils with granulocytic forms of HL-60 cells, a tissue culture model system. In comparison to granulocytic HL-60 cells, blood neutrophil nuclear envelopes contain low-to-negligible amounts of LBR, lamins A/C, B1 and B2, LAP2β and emerin. Surprisingly, a “mitotic” chromosome marker, H3(S10)phos, is elevated in neutrophil nuclei, compared to granulocytic HL-60 cells. Furthermore, neutrophil nuclei appear to be more fragile to methanol fixation, than observed with granulocytic HL-60 cells. Thus, the human neutrophil nucleus appears to be highly specialized, possessing a paucity of nuclear envelope-stabilizing proteins. In consequence, the neutrophil nucleus appears to be very malleable, supporting rapid migration through tight tissue spaces.
Neutrophil; Nuclear envelope; Lamin B receptor; Lamins; Nuclear shape; Heterochromatin
Considerable efforts are being undertaken to elucidate the processes of ribosome biogenesis. Although various preribosomal RNP complexes have been isolated and molecularly characterized, the order of ribosomal protein (r-protein) addition to the emerging ribosome subunits is largely unknown. Furthermore, the correlation between the ribosome assembly pathway and the structural organization of the dedicated ribosome factory, the nucleolus, is not well established. We have analyzed the nucleolar localization of several early binding r-proteins in human cells, applying various methods, including live-cell imaging and electron microscopy. We have located all examined r-proteins (S4, S6, S7, S9, S14, and L4) in the granular component (GC), which is the nucleolar region where later pre-ribosomal RNA (rRNA) processing steps take place. These results imply that early binding r-proteins do not assemble with nascent pre-rRNA transcripts in the dense fibrillar component (DFC), as is generally believed, and provide a link between r-protein assembly and the emergence of distinct granules at the DFC–GC interface.
Unlike other retrovirus Gag proteins, the prototype foamy virus (PFV) p71gag protein is not processed into mature matrix (MA), capsid (CA), and nucleocapsid (NC) subunits. Little information about sequence motifs involved in FV capsid assembly and release is available. The recent analysis of candidate L-domain motifs in PFV Gag identified an evolutionarily conserved YXXL sequence motif with a potential function in capsid assembly. Here we provide support for the hypothesis that this motif does not function like a conventional L domain, by demonstrating that, unlike the PFV Gag PSAP L-domain motif, it cannot be functionally replaced by heterologous L-domain sequences. Furthermore, mutation of individual amino acids Y464, I466, L467, and L469, but not E465, to alanine led to reduced particle release and production of noninfectious, aberrant capsid structures, although relative structural protein incorporation and processing were not affected. In contrast, mutation of G468 to alanine resulted in an intermediate, temperature-sensitive phenotype characterized by reduced particle release and reduced infectivity. Despite similar relative RNA genome incorporation for all mutants, analysis and quantification of particle-associated viral nucleic acids demonstrated defects in genomic reverse transcription for all the noninfectious mutants, a process that, unlike that of orthoretroviruses, in the case of FVs takes place in the virus-producing cell. In correlation with the reduced infectivity, the G468A mutant displayed an intermediate level of genomic reverse transcription. Taken together, these results demonstrate that the conserved YXXLGL motif in PFV Gag is involved in correct capsid assembly, which in turn is essential for reverse transcription of the FV genome.
Cilia are specialized organelles that play an important role in several biological processes, including mechanosensation, photoperception, and osmosignaling. Mutations in proteins localized to cilia have been implicated in a growing number of human diseases. In this study, we demonstrate that the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) protein (pVHL) is a ciliary protein that controls ciliogenesis in kidney cells. Knockdown of pVHL impeded the formation of cilia in mouse inner medullary collecting duct 3 kidney cells, whereas the expression of pVHL in VHL-negative renal cancer cells rescued the ciliogenesis defect. Using green fluorescent protein–tagged end-binding protein 1 to label microtubule plus ends, we found that pVHL does not affect the microtubule growth rate but is needed to orient the growth of microtubules toward the cell periphery, a prerequisite for the formation of cilia. Furthermore, pVHL interacts with the Par3–Par6–atypical PKC complex, suggesting a mechanism for linking polarity pathways to microtubule capture and ciliogenesis.
The functional role of UV irradiation, in combination with the E6 and E7 proteins of the cutaneous human papillomavirus (HPV) types in the malignant conversion of benign papillomatous lesions, has not been elucidated. Transgenic SKH-hr1 hairless mice expressing HPV-20 and HPV-27 E6 and E7 proteins in the suprabasal compartment were generated and exposed to chronic UV irradiation. Histological and immunohistochemical examination of skin samples revealed enhanced proliferation of the epidermal layers and papilloma formation in both transgenic strains in comparison to what was observed with nontransgenic mice. Squamous cell carcinoma developed in the HPV-20 E6/E7 transgenic line as well as in the HPV-27 E6/E7 transgenic line. Several weeks after cessation of UV-B exposure, enhanced proliferation, as measured by BrdU incorporation, was maintained only in HPV-20 transgenic skin. Keratin 6 expression was increased in the transgenic mice throughout all cell layers. Expression of the differentiation markers involucrin and loricrin was reduced and disturbed. p63α expression was differentially regulated with high levels of cytoplasmic expression in clusters of cells in the granular layer of the skin in the transgenic lines 20 weeks after cessation of UV-B exposure, in contrast to uninterrupted staining in the nontransgenic lines. p53 was expressed in clusters of cells in nontransgenic and HPV-27 transgenic mice, in contrast to an even distribution in a higher number of cells in HPV-20 transgenic animals.
Foamy virus (FV) particle egress is unique among retroviruses because of its essential requirement for Gag and Env coexpression for budding and particle release. The FV glycoprotein undergoes a highly unusual biosynthesis resulting in the generation of three particle-associated, mature subunits, leader peptide (LP), surface (SU), and transmembrane (TM), derived from a precursor protein by posttranslational proteolysis mediated by furin or furinlike proteases. Previously at least three LP products of different molecular weights were detected in purified FV particles. Here we demonstrate that the higher-molecular-weight forms gp28LP and gp38LP are ubiquitinated variants of the major gp18LP cleavage product, which has a type II membrane topology. Furthermore, we show that all five lysine residues located within the N-terminal 60-amino-acid cytoplasmic domain of gp18LP can potentially be ubiquitinated, however, there seems to be a preference for using the first three. Inactivation of ubiquitination sites individually resulted in no obvious phenotype. However, simultaneous inactivation of the first three or all five ubiquitination sites in gp18LP led to a massive increase in subviral particles released by these mutant glycoproteins that were readily detectable by electron microscopy analysis upon expression of the ubiquitination-deficient glycoprotein by itself or in a proviral context. Surprisingly, only the quintuple ubiquitination mutant showed a two- to threefold increase in single-cycle infectivity assays, whereas all other mutants displayed infectivities similar to that of the wild type. Taken together, these data suggest that the balance between viral and subviral particle release of FVs is regulated by ubiquitination of the glycoprotein LP.
Among the Retroviridae, foamy viruses (FVs) exhibit an unusual way of particle assembly and a highly specific incorporation of envelope protein into progeny virions. We have analyzed deletions and point mutants of the prototypic FV gag gene for capsid assembly and egress, envelope protein incorporation, infectivity, and ultrastructure. Deletions introduced at the 3′ end of gag revealed the first 297 amino acids (aa) to be sufficient for specific Env incorporation and export of particulate material. Deletions introduced at the 5′ end showed the region between aa 6 and 200 to be dispensable for virus capsid assembly but required for the incorporation of Env and particle egress. Point mutations were introduced in the 5′ region of gag to target residues conserved among FVs from different species. Alanine substitutions of residues in a region between aa 40 and 60 resulted in severe alterations in particle morphology. Furthermore, at position 50, this region harbors the conserved arginine that is presumably at the center of a signal sequence directing FV Gag proteins to a cytoplasmic assembly site.
Foamy viruses (FV) are unusual among retroviruses since they require both Gag and Env structural proteins for particle egress. Recently significant progress has been made towards the mechanistic understanding of the viral release process, in particular that of retroviruses, and the viral domains and cellular pathways involved. However little is currently known about domains of FV structural proteins and cellular proteins engaged in this process. By mutational analysis of sequence motifs in prototype FV (PFV) Gag, bearing homology to known late assembly (L) domains, a PSAP motif with L domain function that was functionally interchangeable by heterologous L domains was identified. In contrast the inactivation of a PPPI motif had no significant influence on PFV particle release, although mutant viral particles displayed reduced infectivity. Similarly mutation of an evolutionary conserved YXXL motif revealed no classical L-domain function but resulted in release of noninfectious viruslike particles. Biochemical and electron microscopy analysis demonstrated that these mutant particles incorporated all viral structural proteins but contained aberrantly capsid structures, suggesting a role in capsid assembly for this PFV Gag sequence motif. In line with the mutational analysis, overexpression of dominant negative (DN) mutants and wild-type TSG101 but not the DN mutant of AIP-1/ALIX reduced PFV particle release and infectivity. Furthermore, DN mutants of Vps4A, Vps4B, and CHMP3 inhibited PFV egress and infectivity. Taken together these results demonstrate that PFV, like other viruses, requires components of the vacuolar protein sorting (VPS) machinery for egress and enters the VPS pathway through interaction with TSG101.
The introduction of a label which can be detected in living cells opens new possibilities for the direct analysis of dynamic processes in virus replication, such as the transport and assembly of structural proteins. Our aim was to generate a tool for the analysis of the trafficking of the main structural protein of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), Gag, as well as for the analysis of virus-host cell interactions in an authentic setting. We describe here the construction and characterization of infectious HIV derivatives carrying a label within the Gag polyprotein. Based on our initial finding that a short epitope tag could be inserted near the C terminus of the matrix domain of Gag without affecting viral replication, we constructed HIV derivatives carrying the egfp gene at the analogous position, resulting in the expression of a Gag-EGFP fusion protein in the authentic viral context. Particles displaying normal viral protein compositions were released from transfected cells, and Gag-EGFP was efficiently processed by the viral protease, yielding the expected products. Furthermore, particles with mature morphology were observed by thin-section electron microscopy. The modified virus was even found to be infectious, albeit with reduced relative infectivity. By preparing mixed particles containing equimolar amounts of Gag-EGFP and Gag, we were able to obtain highly fluorescently labeled virion preparations which displayed normal morphology and full wild-type infectivity, demonstrating that the process of HIV particle assembly displays a remarkable flexibility. The fluorescent virus derivative is a useful tool for investigating the interaction of HIV with live cells.
Late (L) domains are required for the efficient release of several groups of enveloped viruses. Three amino acid motifs have been shown to provide L-domain function, namely, PPXY, PT/SAP, or YPDL. The retrovirus Mason-Pfizer monkey virus (MPMV) carries closely spaced PPPY and PSAP motifs. Mutation of the PPPY motif results in a complete loss of virus release. Here, we show that the PSAP motif acts as an additional L domain and promotes the efficient release of MPMV but requires an intact PPPY motif to perform its function. Examination of HeLaP4 cells expressing PSAP mutant virus by electron microscopy revealed mostly late budding structures and chains of viruses accumulating at the cell surface with little free virus. In the case of the PPPY mutant virus, budding appeared to be mostly arrested at an earlier stage before induction of membrane curvature. The cellular protein TSG101, which interacts with the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) PTAP L domain, was packaged into MPMV in a PSAP-dependent manner. Since TSG101 is crucial for HIV-1 release, this result suggests that the Gag-TSG101 interaction is responsible for the virus release function of the MPMV PSAP motif. Nedd4, which has been shown to interact with viral PPPY motifs, was also detected in MPMV particles, albeit at much lower levels. Consistent with a role of VPS4A in the budding of both PPPY and PTAP motif-containing viruses, the overexpression of ATPase-defective GFP-VPS4A fusion proteins blocked both wild-type and PSAP mutant virus release.
Signal peptides (SP) are key determinants for targeting glycoproteins to the secretory pathway. Here we describe the involvement in particle maturation as an additional function of a viral glycoprotein SP. The SP of foamy virus (FV) envelope glycoprotein is predicted to be unusually long. Using an SP-specific antiserum, we demonstrate that its proteolytic removal occurs posttranslationally by a cellular protease and that the major N-terminal cleavage product, gp18, is found in purified viral particles. Analysis of mutants in proposed signal peptidase cleavage positions and N-glycosylation sites revealed an SP about 148 amino acids (aa) in length. FV particle release from infected cells requires the presence of cognate envelope protein and cleavage of its SP sequence. An N-terminal 15-aa SP domain with two conserved tryptophan residues was found to be essential for the egress of FV particles. While the SP N terminus was found to mediate the specificity of FV Env to interact with FV capsids, it was dispensable for Env targeting to the secretory pathway and FV envelope-mediated infectivity of murine leukemia virus pseudotypes.
Foamy viruses (FVs) are highly fusogenic, and their replication induces massive syncytium formation in infected cell cultures which is believed to be mediated by expression of the envelope (Env) protein. The FV Env is essential for virus particle egress. The unusually long putative membrane-spanning domain (MSD) of the transmembrane subunit carries dispersed charged amino acids and has an important function for particle envelopment. To better understand the capsid-envelope interaction and Env-mediated cell fusion, we generated a variety of FV MSD mutations. C-terminal deletions revealed the cytoplasmic domain to be dispensable but the full-length MSD to be required for fusogenic activity. The N-terminal 15 amino acids of the MSD were found to be sufficient for membrane anchorage and promotion of FV particle release. Expression of wild-type Env protein rarely induced syncytia due to intracellular retention. Coexpression with FV Gag-Pol resulted in particle export and a dramatic increase in fusion activity. A nonconservative mutation of K959 in the middle of the putative MSD resulted in increased fusogenic activity of Env in the absence of Gag-Pol due to enhanced cell surface expression as well as structural changes in the mutant proteins. Coexpression with Gag-Pol resulted in a further increase in the fusion activity of mutant FV Env proteins. Our results suggest that an interaction between the viral capsid and Env is required for FV-induced giant-cell formation and that the positive charge in the MSD is an important determinant controlling intracellular transport and fusogenic activity of the FV Env protein.