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1.  The Hop-Like Stress-Induced Protein 1 Cochaperone Is a Novel Cell-Intrinsic Restriction Factor for Mitochondrial Tombusvirus Replication 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(16):9361-9378.
Recent genome-wide screens reveal that the host cells express an arsenal of proteins that inhibit replication of plus-stranded RNA viruses by functioning as cell-intrinsic restriction factors of viral infections. One group of cell-intrinsic restriction factors against tombusviruses contains tetratricopeptide repeat (TPR) domains that directly interact with the viral replication proteins. In this paper, we find that the TPR domain-containing Hop-like stress-inducible protein 1 (Sti1p) cochaperone selectively inhibits the mitochondrial membrane-based replication of Carnation Italian ringspot tombusvirus (CIRV). In contrast, Sti1/Hop does not inhibit the peroxisome membrane-based replication of the closely related Tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) or Cucumber necrosis virus (CNV) in a yeast model or in plants. Deletion of STI1 in yeast leads to up to a 4-fold increase in CIRV replication, and knockdown of the orthologous Hop cochaperone in plants results in a 3-fold increase in CIRV accumulation. Overexpression of Sti1p derivatives in yeast reveals that the inhibitory function depends on the TPR1 domain known to interact with heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70), but not on the TPR2 domain interacting with Hsp90. In vitro CIRV replication studies based on isolated mitochondrial preparations and purified recombinant proteins has confirmed that Sti1p, similar to the TPR-containing Cyp40-like Cpr7p cyclophilin and the Ttc4 oncogene-like Cns1 cochaperone, is a strong inhibitor of CIRV replication. Sti1p interacts and colocalizes with the CIRV replication proteins in yeast. Our findings indicate that the TPR-containing Hop/Sti1 cochaperone could act as a cell-intrinsic virus restriction factor of the mitochondrial CIRV, but not against the peroxisomal tombusviruses in yeast and plants.
IMPORTANCE The host cells express various cell-intrinsic restriction factors that inhibit the replication of plus-stranded RNA viruses. In this paper, the authors find that the Hop-like stress-inducible protein 1 (Sti1p) cochaperone selectively inhibits the mitochondrial membrane-based replication of Carnation Italian ringspot tombusvirus (CIRV) in yeast. Deletion of STI1 in yeast or knockdown of the orthologous Hop cochaperone in plants leads to increased CIRV replication. In addition, overexpression of Sti1p derivatives in yeast reveals that the inhibitory function depends on the TPR1 domain known to interact with heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70), but not on the TPR2 domain interacting with Hsp90. In vitro CIRV replication studies based on isolated mitochondrial preparations and purified recombinant proteins have confirmed that Sti1p is a strong inhibitor of CIRV replication. The authors' findings reveal that the Hop/Sti1 cochaperone could act as a cell-intrinsic restriction factor against the mitochondrial CIRV, but not against the related peroxisomal tombusviruses.
PMCID: PMC4136296  PMID: 24920799
2.  Template Role of Double-Stranded RNA in Tombusvirus Replication 
Journal of Virology  2014;88(10):5638-5651.
Replication of plus-strand RNA [(+)RNA] viruses of plants is a relatively simple process that involves complementary minus-strand RNA [(−)RNA] synthesis and subsequent (+)RNA synthesis. However, the actual replicative form of the (−)RNA template in the case of plant (+)RNA viruses is not yet established unambiguously. In this paper, using a cell-free replication assay supporting a full cycle of viral replication, we show that replication of Tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) leads to the formation of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). Using RNase digestion, DNAzyme, and RNA mobility shift assays, we demonstrate the absence of naked (−)RNA templates during replication. Time course experiments showed the rapid appearance of dsRNA earlier than the bulk production of new (+)RNAs, suggesting an active role for dsRNA in replication. Radioactive nucleotide chase experiments showed that the mechanism of TBSV replication involves the use of dsRNA templates in strand displacement reactions, where the newly synthesized plus strand replaces the original (+)RNA in the dsRNA. We propose that the use of dsRNA as a template for (+)RNA synthesis by the viral replicase is facilitated by recruited host DEAD box helicases and the viral p33 RNA chaperone protein. Altogether, this replication strategy allows TBSV to separate minus- and plus-strand syntheses in time and regulate asymmetrical RNA replication that leads to abundant (+)RNA progeny.
IMPORTANCE Positive-stranded RNA viruses of plants use their RNAs as the templates for replication. First, the minus strand is synthesized by the viral replicase complex (VRC), which then serves as a template for new plus-strand synthesis. To characterize the nature of the (−)RNA in the membrane-bound viral replicase, we performed complete RNA replication of Tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) in yeast cell-free extracts and in plant extracts. The experiments demonstrated that the TBSV (−)RNA is present as a double-stranded RNA that serves as the template for TBSV replication. During the production of new plus strands, the viral replicase displaces the old plus strand in the dsRNA template, leading to asymmetrical RNA synthesis. The presented data are in agreement with the model that the dsRNA is present in nuclease-resistant membranous VRCs. This strategy likely allows TBSV to protect the replicating viral RNA from degradation as well as to evade the early detection of viral dsRNAs by the host surveillance system.
PMCID: PMC4019106  PMID: 24600009
3.  Identification of Novel Host Factors via Conserved Domain Search: Cns1 Cochaperone Is a Novel Restriction Factor of Tombusvirus Replication in Yeast 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(23):12600-12610.
A large number of host-encoded proteins affect the replication of plus-stranded RNA viruses by acting as susceptibility factors. Many other cellular proteins are known to function as restriction factors of viral infections. Previous studies with tomato bushy stunt tombusvirus (TBSV) in a yeast model host have revealed the inhibitory function of TPR (tetratricopeptide repeat) domain-containing cyclophilins, which are members of the large family of host prolyl isomerases, in TBSV replication. In this paper, we tested additional TPR-containing yeast proteins in a cell-free TBSV replication assay and identified the Cns1p cochaperone for heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) and Hsp90 chaperones as a strong inhibitor of TBSV replication. Cns1p interacted with the viral replication proteins and inhibited the assembly of the viral replicase complex and viral RNA synthesis in vitro. Overexpression of Cns1p inhibited TBSV replication in yeast. The use of a temperature-sensitive (TS) mutant of Cns1p in yeast revealed that at a semipermissive temperature, TS Cns1p could not inhibit TBSV replication. Interestingly, Cns1p and the TPR-containing Cpr7p cyclophilin have similar inhibitory functions during TBSV replication, although some of the details of their viral restriction mechanisms are different. Our observations indicate that TPR-containing cellular proteins could act as virus restriction factors.
PMCID: PMC3838133  PMID: 24027337
4.  Cyclophilin A Binds to the Viral RNA and Replication Proteins, Resulting in Inhibition of Tombusviral Replicase Assembly 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(24):13330-13342.
Replication of plus-stranded RNA viruses is greatly affected by numerous host-encoded proteins that act as restriction factors. Cyclophilins, which are a large family of cellular prolyl isomerases, have been found to inhibit Tomato bushy stunt tombusvirus (TBSV) replication in a Saccharomyces cerevisiae model based on genome-wide screens and global proteomics approaches. In this report, we further characterize single-domain cyclophilins, including the mammalian cyclophilin A and plant Roc1 and Roc2, which are orthologs of the yeast Cpr1p cyclophilin, a known inhibitor of TBSV replication in yeast. We found that recombinant CypA, Roc1, and Roc2 strongly inhibited TBSV replication in a cell-free replication assay. Additional in vitro studies revealed that CypA, Roc1, and Roc2 cyclophilins bound to the viral replication proteins, and CypA and Roc1 also bound to the viral RNA. These interactions led to inhibition of viral RNA recruitment, the assembly of the viral replicase complex, and viral RNA synthesis. A catalytically inactive mutant of CypA was also able to inhibit TBSV replication in vitro due to binding to the replication proteins and the viral RNA. Overexpression of CypA and its mutant in yeast or plant leaves led to inhibition of tombusvirus replication, confirming that CypA is a restriction factor for TBSV. Overall, the current work has revealed a regulatory role for the cytosolic single-domain Cpr1-like cyclophilins in RNA virus replication.
PMCID: PMC3838255  PMID: 24089553
5.  Co-opted Oxysterol-Binding ORP and VAP Proteins Channel Sterols to RNA Virus Replication Sites via Membrane Contact Sites 
PLoS Pathogens  2014;10(10):e1004388.
Viruses recruit cellular membranes and subvert cellular proteins involved in lipid biosynthesis to build viral replicase complexes and replication organelles. Among the lipids, sterols are important components of membranes, affecting the shape and curvature of membranes. In this paper, the tombusvirus replication protein is shown to co-opt cellular Oxysterol-binding protein related proteins (ORPs), whose deletion in yeast model host leads to decreased tombusvirus replication. In addition, tombusviruses also subvert Scs2p VAP protein to facilitate the formation of membrane contact sites (MCSs), where membranes are juxtaposed, likely channeling lipids to the replication sites. In all, these events result in redistribution and enrichment of sterols at the sites of viral replication in yeast and plant cells. Using in vitro viral replication assay with artificial vesicles, we show stimulation of tombusvirus replication by sterols. Thus, co-opting cellular ORP and VAP proteins to form MCSs serves the virus need to generate abundant sterol-rich membrane surfaces for tombusvirus replication.
PMCID: PMC4199759  PMID: 25329172
6.  Tombusvirus-yeast interactions identify conserved cell-intrinsic viral restriction factors 
To combat viral infections, plants possess innate and adaptive immune pathways, such as RNA silencing, R gene and recessive gene-mediated resistance mechanisms. However, it is likely that additional cell-intrinsic restriction factors (CIRF) are also involved in limiting plant virus replication. This review discusses novel CIRFs with antiviral functions, many of them RNA-binding proteins or affecting the RNA binding activities of viral replication proteins. The CIRFs against tombusviruses have been identified in yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), which is developed as an advanced model organism. Grouping of the identified CIRFs based on their known cellular functions and subcellular localization in yeast reveals that TBSV replication is limited by a wide variety of host gene functions. Yeast proteins with the highest connectivity in the network map include the well-characterized Xrn1p 5′–3′ exoribonuclease, Act1p actin protein and Cse4p centromere protein. The protein network map also reveals an important interplay between the pro-viral Hsp70 cellular chaperone and the antiviral co-chaperones, and possibly key roles for the ribosomal or ribosome-associated factors. We discuss the antiviral functions of selected CIRFs, such as the RNA binding nucleolin, ribonucleases, WW-domain proteins, single- and multi-domain cyclophilins, TPR-domain co-chaperones and cellular ion pumps. These restriction factors frequently target the RNA-binding region in the viral replication proteins, thus interfering with the recruitment of the viral RNA for replication and the assembly of the membrane-bound viral replicase. Although many of the characterized CIRFs act directly against TBSV, we propose that the TPR-domain co-chaperones function as “guardians” of the cellular Hsp70 chaperone system, which is subverted efficiently by TBSV for viral replicase assembly in the absence of the TPR-domain co-chaperones.
PMCID: PMC4127529  PMID: 25157258
innate immunity; antiviral response; cell-intrinsic restriction factor; inhibition of virus replication; genome-wide screens; RNA-protein interaction; protein-protein interaction; protein network
7.  The GEF1 Proton-Chloride Exchanger Affects Tombusvirus Replication via Regulation of Copper Metabolism in Yeast 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(3):1800-1810.
Replication of plus-strand RNA viruses [(+)RNA viruses] is performed by viral replicases, whose function is affected by many cellular factors in infected cells. In this paper, we demonstrate a surprising role for Gef1p proton-chloride exchanger in replication of Tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) model (+)RNA virus. A genetic approach revealed that Gef1p, which is the only proton-chloride exchanger in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, is required for TBSV replication in the yeast model host. We also show that the in vitro activity of the purified tombusvirus replicase from gef1Δ yeast was low and that the in vitro assembly of the viral replicase in a cell extract was inhibited by the cytosolic fraction obtained from gef1Δ yeast. Altogether, our data reveal that Gef1p modulates TBSV replication via regulating Cu2+ metabolism in the cell. This conclusion is supported by several lines of evidence, including the direct inhibitory effect of Cu2+ ions on the in vitro assembly of the viral replicase, on the activity of the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, and an inhibitory effect of deletion of CCC2 copper pump on TBSV replication in yeast, while altered iron metabolism did not reduce TBSV replication. In addition, applying a chloride channel blocker impeded TBSV replication in Nicotiana benthamiana protoplasts or in whole plants. Overall, blocking Gef1p function seems to inhibit TBSV replication through altering Cu2+ ion metabolism in the cytosol, which then inhibits the normal functions of the viral replicase.
PMCID: PMC3554144  PMID: 23192874
8.  Noncanonical Role for the Host Vps4 AAA+ ATPase ESCRT Protein in the Formation of Tomato Bushy Stunt Virus Replicase 
PLoS Pathogens  2014;10(4):e1004087.
Assembling of the membrane-bound viral replicase complexes (VRCs) consisting of viral- and host-encoded proteins is a key step during the replication of positive-stranded RNA viruses in the infected cells. Previous genome-wide screens with Tomato bushy stunt tombusvirus (TBSV) in a yeast model host have revealed the involvement of eleven cellular ESCRT (endosomal sorting complexes required for transport) proteins in viral replication. The ESCRT proteins are involved in endosomal sorting of cellular membrane proteins by forming multiprotein complexes, deforming membranes away from the cytosol and, ultimately, pinching off vesicles into the lumen of the endosomes. In this paper, we show an unexpected key role for the conserved Vps4p AAA+ ATPase, whose canonical function is to disassemble the ESCRT complexes and recycle them from the membranes back to the cytosol. We find that the tombusvirus p33 replication protein interacts with Vps4p and three ESCRT-III proteins. Interestingly, Vps4p is recruited to become a permanent component of the VRCs as shown by co-purification assays and immuno-EM. Vps4p is co-localized with the viral dsRNA and contacts the viral (+)RNA in the intracellular membrane. Deletion of Vps4p in yeast leads to the formation of crescent-like membrane structures instead of the characteristic spherule and vesicle-like structures. The in vitro assembled tombusvirus replicase based on cell-free extracts (CFE) from vps4Δ yeast is highly nuclease sensitive, in contrast with the nuclease insensitive replicase in wt CFE. These data suggest that the role of Vps4p and the ESCRT machinery is to aid building the membrane-bound VRCs, which become nuclease-insensitive to avoid the recognition by the host antiviral surveillance system and the destruction of the viral RNA. Other (+)RNA viruses of plants and animals might also subvert Vps4p and the ESCRT machinery for formation of VRCs, which require membrane deformation and spherule formation.
Author Summary
Replication of positive-stranded RNA viruses depends on recruitment of host proteins and cellular membranes to assemble the viral replicase complexes. Tombusviruses, small RNA viruses of plants, co-opt the cellular ESCRT (endosomal sorting complexes required for transport) proteins to facilitate replicase assembly on the peroxisomal membranes. The authors show a surprising role for the ESCRT-associated Vps4p AAA+ ATPase during tombusvirus replication. They show that Vps4p is recruited to and becomes a permanent member of the replicase complex through its interaction with the viral replication proteins. Also, EM and immuno-EM studies reveal that Vps4p is required for the formation of single-membrane vesicle-like structures, called spherules, which represent the sites of tombusvirus replication. The authors propose that Vps4p and other ESCRT proteins are required for membrane deformation and replicase assembly.
PMCID: PMC3999190  PMID: 24763736
9.  Authentic In Vitro Replication of Two Tombusviruses in Isolated Mitochondrial and Endoplasmic Reticulum Membranes 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(23):12779-12794.
Replication of plus-stranded RNA viruses takes place on membranous structures derived from various organelles in infected cells. Previous works with Tomato bushy stunt tombusvirus (TBSV) revealed the recruitment of either peroxisomal or endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membranes for replication. In case of Carnation Italian ringspot tombusvirus (CIRV), the mitochondrial membranes supported CIRV replication. In this study, we developed ER and mitochondrion-based in vitro tombusvirus replication assays. Using purified recombinant TBSV and CIRV replication proteins, we showed that TBSV could use the purified yeast ER and mitochondrial preparations for complete viral RNA replication, while CIRV preferentially replicated in the mitochondrial membranes. The viral RNA became partly RNase resistant after ∼40 to 60 min of incubation in the purified ER and mitochondrial preparations, suggesting that assembly of TBSV and CIRV replicases could take place in the purified ER and mitochondrial membranes in vitro. Using chimeric and heterologous combinations of replication proteins, we showed that multiple domains within the replication proteins are involved in determining the efficiency of tombusvirus replication in the two subcellular membranes. Altogether, we demonstrated that TBSV is less limited while CIRV is more restricted in utilizing various intracellular membranes for replication. Overall, the current work provides evidence that tombusvirus replication could occur in vitro in isolated subcellular membranes, suggesting that tombusviruses have the ability to utilize alternative organellar membranes during infection that could increase the chance of mixed virus replication and rapid evolution during coinfection.
PMCID: PMC3497632  PMID: 22973028
10.  The Expanding Functions of Cellular Helicases: The Tombusvirus RNA Replication Enhancer Co-opts the Plant eIF4AIII-Like AtRH2 and the DDX5-Like AtRH5 DEAD-Box RNA Helicases to Promote Viral Asymmetric RNA Replication 
PLoS Pathogens  2014;10(4):e1004051.
Replication of plus-strand RNA viruses depends on recruited host factors that aid several critical steps during replication. Several of the co-opted host factors bind to the viral RNA, which plays multiple roles, including mRNA function, as an assembly platform for the viral replicase (VRC), template for RNA synthesis, and encapsidation during infection. It is likely that remodeling of the viral RNAs and RNA-protein complexes during the switch from one step to another requires RNA helicases. In this paper, we have discovered a second group of cellular RNA helicases, including the eIF4AIII-like yeast Fal1p and the DDX5-like Dbp3p and the orthologous plant AtRH2 and AtRH5 DEAD box helicases, which are co-opted by tombusviruses. Unlike the previously characterized DDX3-like AtRH20/Ded1p helicases that bind to the 3′ terminal promoter region in the viral minus-strand (−)RNA, the other class of eIF4AIII-like RNA helicases bind to a different cis-acting element, namely the 5′ proximal RIII(−) replication enhancer (REN) element in the TBSV (−)RNA. We show that the binding of AtRH2 and AtRH5 helicases to the TBSV (−)RNA could unwind the dsRNA structure within the RIII(−) REN. This unique characteristic allows the eIF4AIII-like helicases to perform novel pro-viral functions involving the RIII(−) REN in stimulation of plus-strand (+)RNA synthesis. We also show that AtRH2 and AtRH5 helicases are components of the tombusvirus VRCs based on co-purification experiments. We propose that eIF4AIII-like helicases destabilize dsRNA replication intermediate within the RIII(−) REN that promotes bringing the 5′ and 3′ terminal (−)RNA sequences in close vicinity via long-range RNA-RNA base pairing. This newly formed RNA structure promoted by eIF4AIII helicase together with AtRH20 helicase might facilitate the recycling of the viral replicases for multiple rounds of (+)-strand synthesis, thus resulting in asymmetrical viral replication.
Author Summary
Genome-wide screens for host factors affecting tombusvirus replication in yeast indicated that subverted cellular RNA helicases likely play major roles in virus replication. Tombusviruses do not code for their own helicases and they might recruit host RNA helicases to aid their replication in infected cells. Accordingly, in this paper, the authors show that the yeast eIF4AIII-like Fal1p and Dbp3p and the orthologous plant AtRH2 and AtRH5 DEAD-box helicases are co-opted by Tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) to aid viral replication. The authors find that eIF4AIII-like helicases bind to the replication enhancer element (REN) in the viral (−)RNA and they promote (+)-strand TBSV RNA synthesis in vitro. Data show that eIF4AIII-like helicases are present in the viral replicase complex and they bind to the replication proteins. In addition, the authors show synergistic effect between eIF4AIII-like helicases and the previously identified DDX3-like Ded1p/AtRH20 DEAD box helicases, which bind to a different cis-acting region in the viral (−)RNA, on stimulation of plus-strand synthesis. In summary, the authors find that two different groups of cellular helicases promote TBSV replication via selectively enhancing (+)-strand synthesis through different mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC3990711  PMID: 24743583
11.  p33-Independent Activation of a Truncated p92 RNA-Dependent RNA Polymerase of Tomato Bushy Stunt Virus in Yeast Cell-Free Extract 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(22):12025-12038.
Plus-stranded RNA viruses replicate in membrane-bound structures containing the viral replicase complex (VRC). A key component of the VRC is the virally encoded RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp), which should be activated and incorporated into the VRC after its translation. To study the activation of the RdRp of Tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV), a small tombusvirus of plants, we used N-terminal truncated recombinant RdRp, which supported RNA synthesis in a cell-free yeast extract-based assay. The truncated RdRp required a cis-acting RNA replication element and soluble host factors, while unlike the full-length TBSV RdRp, the truncated RdRp did not need the viral p33 replication cofactor or cellular membranes for RNA synthesis. Interestingly, the truncated RdRp used 3′-terminal extension for initiation and terminated prematurely at an internal cis-acting element. However, the truncated RdRp could perform de novo initiation on a TBSV plus-strand RNA template in the presence of the p33 replication cofactor, cellular membranes, and soluble host proteins. Altogether, the data obtained with the truncated RdRp indicate that this RdRp still requires activation, but with the participation of fewer components than with the full-length RdRp, making it suitable for future studies on dissection of the RdRp activation mechanism.
PMCID: PMC3486448  PMID: 22933278
12.  Proteome-Wide Overexpression of Host Proteins for Identification of Factors Affecting Tombusvirus RNA Replication: an Inhibitory Role of Protein Kinase C 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(17):9384-9395.
To identify host genes affecting replication of Tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV), a small model positive-stranded RNA virus, we overexpressed 5,500 yeast proteins individually in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which supports TBSV replication. In total, we identified 141 host proteins, and overexpression of 40 of those increased and the remainder decreased the accumulation of a TBSV replicon RNA. Interestingly, 36 yeast proteins were identified previously by various screens, greatly strengthening the relevance of these host proteins in TBSV replication. To validate the results from the screen, we studied the effect of protein kinase C1 (Pkc1), a conserved host kinase involved in many cellular processes, which inhibited TBSV replication when overexpressed. Using a temperature-sensitive mutant of Pkc1p revealed a high level of TBSV replication at a semipermissive temperature, further supporting the idea that Pkc1p is an inhibitor of TBSV RNA replication. A direct inhibitory effect of Pkc1p was shown in a cell-free yeast extract-based TBSV replication assay, in which Pkc1p likely phosphorylates viral replication proteins, decreasing their abilities to bind to the viral RNA. We also show that cercosporamide, a specific inhibitor of Pkc-like kinases, leads to increased TBSV replication in yeast, in plant single cells, and in whole plants, suggesting that Pkc-related pathways are potent inhibitors of TBSV in several hosts.
PMCID: PMC3416130  PMID: 22718827
13.  Inactivation of the Host Lipin Gene Accelerates RNA Virus Replication through Viral Exploitation of the Expanded Endoplasmic Reticulum Membrane 
PLoS Pathogens  2014;10(2):e1003944.
RNA viruses take advantage of cellular resources, such as membranes and lipids, to assemble viral replicase complexes (VRCs) that drive viral replication. The host lipins (phosphatidate phosphatases) are particularly interesting because these proteins play key roles in cellular decisions about membrane biogenesis versus lipid storage. Therefore, we examined the relationship between host lipins and tombusviruses, based on yeast model host. We show that deletion of PAH1 (phosphatidic acid phosphohydrolase), which is the single yeast homolog of the lipin gene family of phosphatidate phosphatases, whose inactivation is responsible for proliferation and expansion of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane, facilitates robust RNA virus replication in yeast. We document increased tombusvirus replicase activity in pah1Δ yeast due to the efficient assembly of VRCs. We show that the ER membranes generated in pah1Δ yeast is efficiently subverted by this RNA virus, thus emphasizing the connection between host lipins and RNA viruses. Thus, instead of utilizing the peroxisomal membranes as observed in wt yeast and plants, TBSV readily switches to the vastly expanded ER membranes in lipin-deficient cells to build VRCs and support increased level of viral replication. Over-expression of the Arabidopsis Pah2p in Nicotiana benthamiana decreased tombusvirus accumulation, validating that our findings are also relevant in a plant host. Over-expression of AtPah2p also inhibited the ER-based replication of another plant RNA virus, suggesting that the role of lipins in RNA virus replication might include several more eukaryotic viruses.
Author Summary
Genetic diseases alter cellular pathways and they likely influence pathogen-host interactions as well. To test the relationship between a key cellular gene, whose mutation causes genetic diseases, and a pathogen, the authors have chosen the cellular lipins. Lipins are involved in a key cellular decision on using lipids for membrane biogenesis or for storage. Spontaneous mutations in the LIPIN1 gene in mammals, which cause impaired lipin-1 function, contribute to common metabolic dysregulation and several major diseases, such as obesity, hyperinsulinemia, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver distrophy and hypertension. In this work, the authors tested if tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV), which, similar to many (+)RNA viruses, depends on host membrane biogenesis, is affected by deletion of the single lipin gene (PAH1) in yeast model host. They show that pah1Δ yeast supports increased replication of TBSV. They demonstrate that TBSV takes advantage of the expanded ER membranes in lipin-deficient yeast to efficiently assemble viral replicase complexes. Their findings suggest possible positive effect of a genetic disease caused by mutation on the replication of an infectious agent.
PMCID: PMC3930575  PMID: 24586157
14.  Diverse roles of host RNA-binding proteins in RNA virus replication 
RNA Biology  2011;8(2):305-315.
Plus-strand (+)RNA viruses co-opt host RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) to perform many functions during viral replication. A few host RBPs have been identified that affect the recruitment of viral (+)RNAs for replication. Other subverted host RBPs help the assembly of the membrane-bound replicase complexes, regulate the activity of the replicase and control minus- or plus-strand RNA synthesis. Host RBPs also affect the stability of viral RNAs, which have to escape cellular RNA degradation pathways. While many host RBPs seem to have specialized functions, others participate in multiple events during infection. Several conserved RBPs, such as eEF1A, hnRNP proteins and the Lsm 1–7 complex, are co-opted by evolutionarily diverse (+)RNA viruses, underscoring some common themes in virus-host interactions. On the other hand, viruses also hijack unique RBPs, suggesting that (+)RNA viruses could utilize different RBPs to perform similar functions. Moreover, different (+) RNA viruses have adapted distinctive strategies for co-opting unique RBPs. Altogether, a deeper understanding of the functions of the host RBPs subverted for viral replication will help development of novel antiviral strategies and give new insights into host RNA biology.
PMCID: PMC3230553  PMID: 21505273
Plus-strand RNA virus; replication; virus-host interaction; host factor; RNA-binding proteins; RNA-dependent RNA polymerase; viral replicase complex
15.  Dissecting virus-plant interactions through proteomics approaches 
Current proteomics  2010;7(4):316-327.
Plant viruses exploit cellular factors, including host proteins, membranes and metabolites, for their replication in infected cells and to establish systemic infections. Besides traditional genetic, molecular, cellular and biochemical methods studying plant-virus interactions, both global and specialized proteomics methods are emerging as useful approaches for the identification of all the host proteins that play roles in virus infections. The various proteomics approaches include measuring differential protein expression in virus infected versus noninfected cells, analysis of viral and host protein components in the viral replicase or other virus-induced complexes, as well as proteome-wide screens to identify host protein - viral protein interactions using protein arrays or yeast two-hybrid assays. In this review, we will discuss the progress made in plant virology using various proteomics methods, and highlight the functions of some of the identified host proteins during viral infections. Since global proteomics approaches do not usually identify the molecular mechanism of the identified host factors during viral infections, additional experiments using genetics, biochemistry, cell biology and other approaches should also be performed to characterize the functions of host factors. Overall, the ever-improving proteomics approaches promise further understanding of plant-virus interactions that will likely result in new strategies for viral disease control in plants.
PMCID: PMC3769790  PMID: 24039615
Proteome; protein microarray; plant; virus; host factors; protein-protein interaction; RNA binding; virus replication; host-virus interaction
16.  Inhibition of phospholipid biosynthesis decreases the activity of the tombusvirus replicase and alters the subcellular localization of replication proteins 
Virology  2011;415(2):141-152.
Replication of plus-strand RNA viruses depends on lipids present in cellular membranes. Recent genome-wide screens have revealed that eight phospholipid biosynthesis genes affected the replication of Tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) in yeast model host. To test the importance of phospholipids in TBSV replication, we studied one of the identified genes, namely INO2, which forms a heterodimer with Ino4, and is a transcription activator involved in regulation of phospholipid biosynthesis. Deletion of INO2, or double deletion of INO2/INO4, reduced TBSV replication and inhibited the activity of the viral replicase complex. In addition, the stability of the viral replication protein is decreased as well as the localization pattern of the viral protein changed dramatically in ino2Δ ino4Δ yeast. Over-expression of Opi1, a repressor of Ino2 and phospholipid biosynthesis, also inhibited TBSV RNA accumulation. In contrast, over-expression of Ino2 stimulated TBSV RNA accumulation. We also observed an inhibitory effect on Flock house virus (FHV) replication and the reduced stability of the FHV replication protein in ino2Δ ino4Δ yeast. These data are consistent with the important role of phospholipids in RNA virus replication.
PMCID: PMC3107895  PMID: 21561636
17.  Defining the Roles of cis-Acting RNA Elements in Tombusvirus Replicase Assembly In Vitro 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(1):156-171.
In addition to its central role as a template for replication and translation, the viral plus-strand RNA genome also has nontemplate functions, such as recruitment to the site of replication and assembly of the viral replicase, activities that are mediated by cis-acting RNA elements within viral genomes. Two noncontiguous RNA elements, RII(+)-SL (located internally in the tombusvirus genome) and RIV (located at the 3′-terminus), are involved in template recruitment into replication and replicase assembly; however, the importance of each of these RNA elements for these two distinct functions is not fully elucidated. We used an in vitro replicase assembly assay based on yeast cell extract and purified recombinant tombusvirus replication proteins to show that RII(+)-SL, in addition to its known requirement for recruitment of the plus-strand RNA into replication, is also necessary for assembly of an active viral replicase complex. Additional studies using a novel two-component RNA system revealed that the recruitment function of RII(+)-SL can be provided in trans by a separate RNA and that the replication silencer element, located within RIV, defines the template that is used for initiation of minus-strand synthesis. Collectively, this work has revealed new functions for tombusvirus cis-acting RNA elements and provided insights into the pioneering round of minus-strand synthesis.
PMCID: PMC3255868  PMID: 22013057
18.  Direct Inhibition of Tombusvirus Plus-Strand RNA Synthesis by a Dominant Negative Mutant of a Host Metabolic Enzyme, Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenase, in Yeast and Plants▿ 
Journal of Virology  2011;85(17):9090-9102.
The replication of plus-strand RNA viruses depends on many cellular factors. Glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) is an abundant metabolic enzyme that is recruited to the replicase complex of Tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) and affects asymmetric viral RNA synthesis. To further our understanding on the role of GAPDH in TBSV replication, we used an in vitro TBSV replication assay based on recombinant p33 and p92pol viral replication proteins and cell-free yeast extract. We found that the addition of purified recombinant GAPDH to the cell extract prepared from GAPDH-depleted yeast results in increased plus-strand RNA synthesis and asymmetric production of viral RNAs. Our data also demonstrate that GAPDH interacts with p92pol viral replication protein, which may facilitate the recruitment of GAPDH into the viral replicase complex in the yeast model host. In addition, we have identified a dominant negative mutant of GAPDH, which inhibits RNA synthesis and RNA recruitment in vitro. Moreover, this mutant also exhibits strong suppression of tombusvirus accumulation in yeast and in virus-infected Nicotiana benthamiana. Overall, the obtained data support the model that the co-opted GAPDH plays a direct role in TBSV replication by stimulating plus-strand synthesis by the viral replicase.
PMCID: PMC3165801  PMID: 21697488
19.  A Co-Opted DEAD-Box RNA Helicase Enhances Tombusvirus Plus-Strand Synthesis 
PLoS Pathogens  2012;8(2):e1002537.
Replication of plus-strand RNA viruses depends on recruited host factors that aid several critical steps during replication. In this paper, we show that an essential translation factor, Ded1p DEAD-box RNA helicase of yeast, directly affects replication of Tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV). To separate the role of Ded1p in viral protein translation from its putative replication function, we utilized a cell-free TBSV replication assay and recombinant Ded1p. The in vitro data show that Ded1p plays a role in enhancing plus-strand synthesis by the viral replicase. We also find that Ded1p is a component of the tombusvirus replicase complex and Ded1p binds to the 3′-end of the viral minus-stranded RNA. The data obtained with wt and ATPase deficient Ded1p mutants support the model that Ded1p unwinds local structures at the 3′-end of the TBSV (−)RNA, rendering the RNA compatible for initiation of (+)-strand synthesis. Interestingly, we find that Ded1p and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), which is another host factor for TBSV, play non-overlapping functions to enhance (+)-strand synthesis. Altogether, the two host factors enhance TBSV replication synergistically by interacting with the viral (−)RNA and the replication proteins. In addition, we have developed an in vitro assay for Flock house virus (FHV), a small RNA virus of insects, that also demonstrated positive effect on FHV replicase activity by the added Ded1p helicase. Thus, two small RNA viruses, which do not code for their own helicases, seems to recruit a host RNA helicase to aid their replication in infected cells.
Author Summary
Subverted host factors play a role in plus-strand RNA virus replication. Small RNA viruses do not code for their own helicases and they might recruit host RNA helicases to aid their replication in infected cells. In this paper, the authors show that the Ded1p DEAD-box helicase, which is an essential translation factor in yeast, is recruited by Tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) into its replicase complex. They also show that Ded1p binds to the viral (−)RNA and promotes (+)-strand TBSV synthesis when added to a yeast-based cell-free extract depleted for Ded1p. An ATPase defective Ded1p mutant failed to promote TBSV replication in vitro, suggesting that the helicase activity of Ded1p is essential for its function during TBSV replication. In addition, the authors also show that another host protein, which also binds to the (−)RNA, namely glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH), further enhances TBSV (+)RNA when added together with Ded1p to yeast-based cell-free extract. In summary, the authors show that the major functions of Ded1p and GAPDH host proteins are to promote TBSV replication via selectively enhancing (+)-strand synthesis.
PMCID: PMC3280988  PMID: 22359508
20.  The TPR Domain in the Host Cyp40-like Cyclophilin Binds to the Viral Replication Protein and Inhibits the Assembly of the Tombusviral Replicase 
PLoS Pathogens  2012;8(2):e1002491.
Replication of plus-stranded RNA viruses is greatly affected by numerous host-coded proteins acting either as susceptibility or resistance factors. Previous genome-wide screens and global proteomics approaches with Tomato bushy stunt tombusvirus (TBSV) in a yeast model host revealed the involvement of cyclophilins, which are a large family of host prolyl isomerases, in TBSV replication. In this paper, we identified those members of the large cyclophilin family that interacted with the viral replication proteins and inhibited TBSV replication. Further characterization of the most effective cyclophilin, the Cyp40-like Cpr7p, revealed that it strongly inhibits many steps during TBSV replication in a cell-free replication assay. These steps include viral RNA recruitment inhibited via binding of Cpr7p to the RNA-binding region of the viral replication protein; the assembly of the viral replicase complex and viral RNA synthesis. Since the TPR (tetratricopeptide repeats) domain, but not the catalytic domain of Cpr7p is needed for the inhibitory effect on TBSV replication, it seems that the chaperone activity of Cpr7p provides the negative regulatory function. We also show that three Cyp40-like proteins from plants can inhibit TBSV replication in vitro and Cpr7p is also effective against Nodamura virus, an insect pathogen. Overall, the current work revealed a role for Cyp40-like proteins and their TPR domains as regulators of RNA virus replication.
Author Summary
Replication of plus-stranded RNA viruses, which are important pathogens of humans, animals and plants, can be inhibited by host-coded proteins. In this paper, the authors show that the Cyp40-like Cpr7p prolyl isomerase of yeast can effectively inhibit tombusvirus replication. This inhibition is due to binding of the TPR (tetratricopeptide repeats) domain of Cpr7p to the RNA-binding region of the tombusvirus replication proteins that leads to inhibition of RNA binding by the viral replication proteins, interference with the assembly of the viral replicase and blocking viral RNA synthesis. Cpr7p is also effective against the distantly-related alfanodaviruses of insects. Overall, this work reveals a role for a Cyp40-like protein as a regulator of RNA virus replication. This function of Cyp40 during RNA virus infection seems to be conserved between yeast and plants.
PMCID: PMC3276564  PMID: 22346747
21.  Synergistic Roles of Eukaryotic Translation Elongation Factors 1Bγ and 1A in Stimulation of Tombusvirus Minus-Strand Synthesis 
PLoS Pathogens  2011;7(12):e1002438.
Host factors are recruited into viral replicase complexes to aid replication of plus-strand RNA viruses. In this paper, we show that deletion of eukaryotic translation elongation factor 1Bgamma (eEF1Bγ) reduces Tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) replication in yeast host. Also, knock down of eEF1Bγ level in plant host decreases TBSV accumulation. eEF1Bγ binds to the viral RNA and is one of the resident host proteins in the tombusvirus replicase complex. Additional in vitro assays with whole cell extracts prepared from yeast strains lacking eEF1Bγ demonstrated its role in minus-strand synthesis by opening of the structured 3′ end of the viral RNA and reducing the possibility of re-utilization of (+)-strand templates for repeated (-)-strand synthesis within the replicase. We also show that eEF1Bγ plays a synergistic role with eukaryotic translation elongation factor 1A in tombusvirus replication, possibly via stimulation of the proper positioning of the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase over the promoter region in the viral RNA template.These roles for translation factors during TBSV replication are separate from their canonical roles in host and viral protein translation.
Author Summary
RNA viruses recruit numerous host proteins to facilitate their replication and spread. Among the identified host proteins are RNA-binding proteins (RBPs), such as ribosomal proteins, translation factors and RNA-modifying enzymes. In this paper, the authors show that deletion of eukaryotic translation elongation factor 1Bgamma (eEF1Bγ) reduces Tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) replication in a yeast model host. Knock down of eEF1Bγ level in plant host also decreases TBSV accumulation. Moreover, the authors demonstrate that eEF1Bγ binds to the viral RNA and is present in the tombusvirus replicase complex. Functional studies revealed that eEF1Bγ promotes minus-strand synthesis by serving as an RNA chaperone. The authors also show that eEF1Bγ and eukaryotic translation elongation factor 1A, another host factor, function together to promote tombusvirus replication.
PMCID: PMC3240602  PMID: 22194687
22.  Role of RNase MRP in Viral RNA Degradation and RNA Recombination▿  
Journal of Virology  2010;85(1):243-253.
RNA degradation, together with RNA synthesis, controls the steady-state level of viral RNAs in infected cells. The endoribonucleolytic cleavage of viral RNA is important not only for viral RNA degradation but for RNA recombination as well, due to the participation of some RNA degradation products in the RNA recombination process. To identify host endoribonucleases involved in degradation of Tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) in a Saccharomyces cerevisiae model host, we tested eight known endoribonucleases. Here we report that downregulation of SNM1, encoding a component of the RNase MRP, and a temperature-sensitive mutation in the NME1 gene, coding for the RNA component of RNase MRP, lead to reduced production of the endoribonucleolytically cleaved TBSV RNA in yeast. We also show that the highly purified yeast RNase MRP cleaves the TBSV RNA in vitro, resulting in TBSV RNA degradation products similar in size to those observed in yeast cells. Knocking down the NME1 homolog in Nicotiana benthamiana also led to decreased production of the cleaved TBSV RNA, suggesting that in plants, RNase MRP is involved in TBSV RNA degradation. Altogether, this work suggests a role for the host endoribonuclease RNase MRP in viral RNA degradation and recombination.
PMCID: PMC3014185  PMID: 20962095
23.  Ubiquitination of tombusvirus p33 replication protein plays a role in virus replication and binding to the host Vps23p ESCRT protein 
Virology  2009;397(2):358.
Post-translational modifications of viral replication proteins could be widespread phenomena during the replication of plus-stranded RNA viruses. In this paper, we identify two lysines in the tombusvirus p33 replication co-factor involved in ubiquitination and show that the same lysines are also important for the p33 to interact with the host Vps23p ESCRT-I factor. We find that the interaction of p33 with Vps23p is also affected by a "late-domain"-like sequence in p33. The combined mutations of the two lysines and the late-domain-like sequences in p33 reduced replication of a replicon RNA of Tomato bushy stunt virus in yeast model host, in plant protoplasts and plant leaves, suggesting that p33-Vps23p ESCRT protein interaction affects tombusvirus replication. Using ubiquitin-mimicking p33 chimeras, we demonstrate that high level of p33 ubiquitination is inhibitory for TBSV replication. These findings argue that optimal level of p33 ubiquitination plays a regulatory role during tombusvirus infections.
PMCID: PMC2822108  PMID: 20004458
24.  Nucleolin/Nsr1p binds to the 3' noncoding region of the tombusvirus RNA and inhibits replication 
Virology  2009;396(1):10-20.
Previous genome-wide screens identified >100 host genes affecting tombusvirus replication using yeast model host. One of those factors was Nsr1p (nucleolin), which is an abundant RNA binding shuttle protein involved in rRNA maturation and ribosome assembly. We find that over-expression of Nsr1p in yeast or in Nicotiana benthamiana inhibited the accumulation of tombusvirus RNA by ~10-fold. Regulated over-expression of Nsr1p revealed that Nsr1p should be present at the beginning of viral replication for efficient inhibition, suggesting that Nsr1p inhibits an early step in the replication process. In vitro experiments revealed that Nsr1p binds preferably to the 3' UTR in the viral RNA. The purified recombinant Nsr1p inhibited the in vitro replication of the viral RNA in a yeast cell-free assay when pre-incubated with the viral RNA before the assay. These data support the model that Nsr1p/nucleolin inhibits tombusvirus replication by interfering with the recruitment of the viral RNA for replication.
PMCID: PMC2788044  PMID: 19861225
25.  A temperature sensitive mutant of heat shock protein 70 reveals an essential role during the early steps of tombusvirus replication 
Virology  2009;394(1):28-38.
By co-opting host proteins for their replication, plus-stranded RNA viruses can support robust replication and suppress host anti-viral responses. Tomato bushy stunt tombusvirus (TBSV) recruit the cellular heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70), an abundant cytosolic chaperone, into the replicase complex. By taking advantage of yeast model host, we demonstrate that the four-member SSA subfamily of HSP70 genes is essential for TBSV replication. The constitutively-expressed SSA1 and SSA2, which are resident proteins in the viral replicase, can be complemented by the heat-inducible SSA3 and/or SSA4 for TBSV replication. Using a yeast strain carrying a temperature sensitive ssa1ts, but lacking functional SSA2/3/4, we show that inactivation of Ssa1pts led to a defect in membrane localization of the viral replication proteins, resulting in cytosolic distribution of the viral proteins and lack of replicase activity. An in vitro replicase assembly assay with Ssa1pts revealed that functional Ssa1p is required during the replicase assembly process, but not during minus- or plus-strand synthesis. Temperature shift experiments from nonpermissive to permissive in ssa1ts yeast revealed that the re-activated Ssa1pts could promote efficient TBSV replication in the absence of other SSA genes. We also demonstrate that the purified recombinant Ssa3p can facilitate the in vitro assembly of the TBSV replicase on yeast membranes, demonstrating that Ssa3p can fully complement the function of Ssa1p. Taken together, the cytosolic SSA subfamily of Hsp70 proteins play essential and multiple roles in TBSV replication.
PMCID: PMC2776036  PMID: 19748649

Results 1-25 (51)