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1.  Upregulation of CHOP/GADD153 during Coronavirus Infectious Bronchitis Virus Infection Modulates Apoptosis by Restricting Activation of the Extracellular Signal-Regulated Kinase Pathway 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(14):8124-8134.
Induction of the unfolded protein response (UPR) is an adaptive cellular response to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress that allows a cell to reestablish ER homeostasis. However, under severe and persistent ER stress, prolonged UPR may activate unique pathways that lead to cell death. In this study, we investigated the activation of the protein kinase R-like ER kinase (PERK) pathway of UPR in cells infected with the coronavirus infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) and its relationship with IBV-induced apoptosis. The results showed moderate induction of PERK phosphorylation in IBV-infected cells. Meanwhile, activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4) was upregulated at the protein level in the infected cells, resulting in the induction in trans of the transcription factor ATF3 and the proapoptotic growth arrest and DNA damage-inducible protein GADD153. Knockdown of PERK by small interfering RNA (siRNA) suppressed the activation of GADD153 and the IBV-induced apoptosis. Interestingly, knockdown of protein kinase R (PKR) by siRNA and inhibition of the PKR kinase activity by 2-aminopurine (2-AP) also reduced the IBV-induced upregulation of GADD153 and apoptosis induction. In GADD153-knockdown cells, IBV-induced apoptosis was suppressed and virus replication inhibited, revealing a key role of GADD153 in IBV-induced cell death and virus replication. Analysis of the pathways downstream of GADD153 revealed much more activation of the extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK) pathway in GADD153-knockdown cells during IBV infection, indicating that GADD153 may modulate apoptosis through suppression of the pathway. This study provides solid evidence that induction of GADD153 by PERK and PKR plays an important regulatory role in the apoptotic process triggered by IBV infection.
doi:10.1128/JVI.00626-13
PMCID: PMC3700216  PMID: 23678184
2.  Importance of SARS-CoV Spike Protein Trp-rich Region in Viral Infectivity 
SARS-CoV entry is mediated by spike glycoprotein. During the viral and host cellular membrane fusion, HR1 and HR2 form 6-helix bundle, positioning the fusion peptide closely to the C-terminal region of ectodomain to drive apposition and subsequent membrane fusion. Connecting to the HR2 region is a Trp-rich region which is absolutely conserved in members of coronaviruses. To investigate the importance of Trp-rich region in SARS-CoV entry, we produced different mutated S proteins using Alanine scan strategy. SARS-CoV pseudotyped with mutated S protein was used to measure viral infectivity. To restore the aromaticity of Ala-mutants, we performed rescue experiments using phenylalanine substitutions. Our results show that individually-substituted Ala-mutants substantially decrease infectivity by >90%, global Ala-mutants totally abrogated infectivity. In contrast, Phe-substituted mutants are able to restore 10–25% infectivity comparing to the wild type. The results suggest that the Trp-rich region of S protein is essential for SARS-CoV infectivity.
doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2008.04.044
PMCID: PMC2519895  PMID: 18424264
Trp-rich region; SARS-CoV; Spike protein; membrane fusion; Alanine scan; mutant; infectivity
3.  Foot-and-mouth disease virus-like particles produced by a SUMO fusion protein system in Escherichia coli induce potent protective immune responses in guinea pigs, swine and cattle 
Veterinary Research  2013;44(1):48.
Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) causes a highly contagious infection in cloven-hoofed animals. The format of FMD virus-like particles (VLP) as a non-replicating particulate vaccine candidate is a promising alternative to conventional inactivated FMDV vaccines. In this study, we explored a prokaryotic system to express and assemble the FMD VLP and validated the potential of VLP as an FMDV vaccine candidate. VLP composed entirely of FMDV (Asia1/Jiangsu/China/2005) capsid proteins (VP0, VP1 and VP3) were simultaneously produced as SUMO fusion proteins by an improved SUMO fusion protein system in E. coli. Proteolytic removal of the SUMO moiety from the fusion proteins resulted in the assembly of VLP with size and shape resembling the authentic FMDV. Immunization of guinea pigs, swine and cattle with FMD VLP by intramuscular inoculation stimulated the FMDV-specific antibody response, neutralizing antibody response, T-cell proliferation response and secretion of cytokine IFN-γ. In addition, immunization with one dose of the VLP resulted in complete protection of these animals from homologous FMDV challenge. The 50% protection dose (PD50) of FMD VLP in cattle is up to 6.34. These results suggest that FMD VLP expressed in E. coli are an effective vaccine in guinea pigs, swine and cattle and support further development of these VLP as a vaccine candidate for protection against FMDV.
doi:10.1186/1297-9716-44-48
PMCID: PMC3720265  PMID: 23826638
4.  Recent Progress in Studies of Arterivirus- and Coronavirus-Host Interactions 
Viruses  2012;4(6):980-1010.
Animal coronaviruses, such as infectious bronchitis virus (IBV), and arteriviruses, such as porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV), are able to manifest highly contagious infections in their specific native hosts, thereby arising in critical economic damage to animal industries. This review discusses recent progress in studies of virus-host interactions during animal and human coronavirus and arterivirus infections, with emphasis on IBV-host cell interactions. These interactions may be directly involved in viral replication or lead to the alteration of certain signaling pathways, such as cell stress response and innate immunity, to facilitate viral replication and pathogenesis.
doi:10.3390/v4060980
PMCID: PMC3397358  PMID: 22816036
virus-host interactions; coronavirus; arterivirus
5.  Binding of the 5′-untranslated region of coronavirus RNA to zinc finger CCHC-type and RNA-binding motif 1 enhances viral replication and transcription 
Nucleic Acids Research  2012;40(11):5065-5077.
Coronaviruses RNA synthesis occurs in the cytoplasm and is regulated by host cell proteins. In a screen based on a yeast three-hybrid system using the 5′-untranslated region (5′-UTR) of SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV) RNA as bait against a human cDNA library derived from HeLa cells, we found a positive candidate cellular protein, zinc finger CCHC-type and RNA-binding motif 1 (MADP1), to be able to interact with this region of the SARS-CoV genome. This interaction was subsequently confirmed in coronavirus infectious bronchitis virus (IBV). The specificity of the interaction between MADP1 and the 5′-UTR of IBV was investigated and confirmed by using an RNA pull-down assay. The RNA-binding domain was mapped to the N-terminal region of MADP1 and the protein binding sequence to stem–loop I of IBV 5′-UTR. MADP1 was found to be translocated to the cytoplasm and partially co-localized with the viral replicase/transcriptase complexes (RTCs) in IBV-infected cells, deviating from its usual nuclear localization in a normal cell using indirect immunofluorescence. Using small interfering RNA (siRNA) against MADP1, defective viral RNA synthesis was observed in the knockdown cells, therefore indicating the importance of the protein in coronaviral RNA synthesis.
doi:10.1093/nar/gks165
PMCID: PMC3367200  PMID: 22362731
6.  Up-Regulation of Mcl-1 and Bak by Coronavirus Infection of Human, Avian and Animal Cells Modulates Apoptosis and Viral Replication 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(1):e30191.
Virus-induced apoptosis and viral mechanisms that regulate this cell death program are key issues in understanding virus-host interactions and viral pathogenesis. Like many other human and animal viruses, coronavirus infection of mammalian cells induces apoptosis. In this study, the global gene expression profiles are first determined in IBV-infected Vero cells at 24 hours post-infection by Affymetrix array, using avian coronavirus infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) as a model system. It reveals an up-regulation at the transcriptional level of both pro-apoptotic Bak and pro-survival myeloid cell leukemia-1 (Mcl-1). These results were further confirmed both in vivo and in vitro, in IBV-infected embryonated chicken eggs, chicken fibroblast cells and mammalian cells at transcriptional and translational levels, respectively. Interestingly, the onset of apoptosis occurred earlier in IBV-infected mammalian cells silenced with short interfering RNA targeting Mcl-1 (siMcl-1), and was delayed in cells silenced with siBak. IBV progeny production and release were increased in infected Mcl-1 knockdown cells compared to similarly infected control cells, while the contrary was observed in infected Bak knockdown cells. Furthermore, IBV infection-induced up-regulation of GADD153 regulated the expression of Mcl-1. Inhibition of the mitogen-activated protein/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (MEK/ERK) and phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K/Akt) signaling pathways by chemical inhibitors and knockdown of GADD153 by siRNA demonstrated the involvement of ER-stress response in regulation of IBV-induced Mcl-1 expression. These results illustrate the sophisticated regulatory strategies evolved by a coronavirus to modulate both virus-induced apoptosis and viral replication during its replication cycle.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0030191
PMCID: PMC3256233  PMID: 22253918
7.  The Cellular RNA Helicase DDX1 Interacts with Coronavirus Nonstructural Protein 14 and Enhances Viral Replication▿  
Journal of Virology  2010;84(17):8571-8583.
The involvement of host proteins in the replication and transcription of viral RNA is a poorly understood area for many RNA viruses. For coronaviruses, it was long speculated that replication of the giant RNA genome and transcription of multiple subgenomic mRNA species by a unique discontinuous transcription mechanism may require host cofactors. To search for such cellular proteins, yeast two-hybrid screening was carried out by using the nonstructural protein 14 (nsp14) from the coronavirus infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) as a bait protein, leading to the identification of DDX1, a cellular RNA helicase in the DExD/H helicase family, as a potential interacting partner. This interaction was subsequently confirmed by coimmunoprecipitation assays with cells coexpressing the two proteins and with IBV-infected cells. Furthermore, the endogenous DDX1 protein was found to be relocated from the nucleus to the cytoplasm in IBV-infected cells. In addition to its interaction with IBV nsp14, DDX1 could also interact with the nsp14 protein from severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), suggesting that interaction with DDX1 may be a general feature of coronavirus nsp14. The interacting domains were mapped to the C-terminal region of DDX1 containing motifs V and VI and to the N-terminal portion of nsp14. Manipulation of DDX1 expression, either by small interfering RNA-induced knockdown or by overexpression of a mutant DDX1 protein, confirmed that this interaction may enhance IBV replication. This study reveals that DDX1 contributes to efficient coronavirus replication in cell culture.
doi:10.1128/JVI.00392-10
PMCID: PMC2918985  PMID: 20573827
8.  RIG-I, MDA5 and TLR3 Synergistically Play an Important Role in Restriction of Dengue Virus Infection 
Dengue virus (DV) infection is one of the most common mosquito-borne viral diseases in the world. The innate immune system is important for the early detection of virus and for mounting a cascade of defense measures which include the production of type 1 interferon (IFN). Hence, a thorough understanding of the innate immune response during DV infection would be essential for our understanding of the DV pathogenesis. A recent application of the microarray to dengue virus type 1 (DV1) infected lung carcinoma cells revealed the increased expression of both extracellular and cytoplasmic pattern recognition receptors; retinoic acid inducible gene-I (RIG-I), melanoma differentiation associated gene-5 (MDA-5) and Toll-like receptor-3 (TLR3). These intracellular RNA sensors were previously reported to sense DV infection in different cells. In this study, we show that they are collectively involved in initiating an effective IFN production against DV. Cells silenced for these genes were highly susceptible to DV infection. RIG-I and MDA5 knockdown HUH-7 cells and TLR3 knockout macrophages were highly susceptible to DV infection. When cells were silenced for only RIG-I and MDA5 (but not TLR3), substantial production of IFN-β was observed upon virus infection and vice versa. High susceptibility to virus infection led to ER-stress induced apoptosis in HUH-7 cells. Collectively, our studies demonstrate that the intracellular RNA virus sensors (RIG-I, MDA5 and TLR3) are activated upon DV infection and are essential for host defense against the virus.
Author Summary
Dengue fever, dengue haemmorhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome, which are caused by dengue virus infection, are a major public health problem in many parts of the world, especially South East Asia. The investigation of host cell transcriptional changes in response to virus infection using DNA microarray technology has been an area of great interest. In our previous study, we used microarray technology to study expression of individual human genes in relation to dengue virus infection. Most of the genes that were upregulated were type 1 interferon related genes. To gain a better understanding of the innate immune response to dengue virus, we knocked down RIG-I, MDA5 and TLR3 genes in HUH-7 cells. Silencing these genes using siRNA technology resulted in significant increase in viral replication. This increase in viral load induced ER stress leading to apoptosis. This study demonstrates a synergistic role for RIG-I, MDA5 and TLR3 in restricting dengue virus infection.
doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0000926
PMCID: PMC3014945  PMID: 21245912
9.  Functional and Genetic Studies of the Substrate Specificity of Coronavirus Infectious Bronchitis Virus 3C-Like Proteinase ▿  
Journal of Virology  2010;84(14):7325-7336.
Coronavirus (CoV) 3C-like proteinase (3CLpro), located in nonstructural protein 5 (nsp5), processes the replicase polyproteins 1a and 1ab (pp1a and pp1ab) at 11 specific sites to produce 12 mature nonstructural proteins (nsp5 to nsp16). Structural and biochemical studies suggest that a conserved Gln residue at the P1 position is absolutely required for efficient cleavage. Here, we investigate the effects of amino acid substitution at the P1 position of 3CLpro cleavage sites of infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) on the cleavage efficiency and viral replication by in vitro cleavage assays and reverse genetic approaches. Our results demonstrated that a P1-Asn substitution at the nsp4-5/Q2779, nsp5-6/Q3086, nsp7-8/Q3462, nsp8-9/Q3672, and nsp9-10/Q3783 sites, a P1-Glu substitution at the nsp8-9/Q3672 site, and a P1-His substitution at the nsp15-16/Q6327 site were tolerated and allowed recovery of infectious mutant viruses, albeit with variable degrees of growth defects. In contrast, a P1-Asn substitution at the nsp6-7/Q3379, nsp12-13/Q4868, nsp13-14/Q5468, and nsp14-15/Q5989 sites, as well as a P1-Pro substitution at the nsp15-16/Q6327 site, abolished 3CLpro-mediated cleavage at the corresponding position and blocked the recovery of infectious viruses. Analysis of the effects of these lethal mutations on RNA synthesis suggested that processing intermediates, such as the nsp6-7, nsp12-13, nsp13-14, nsp14-15, and nsp15-16 precursors, may function in negative-stranded genomic RNA replication, whereas mature proteins may be required for subgenomic RNA (sgRNA) transcription. More interestingly, a mutant 3CLpro with either a P166S or P166L mutation was selected when an IBV infectious cDNA clone carrying the Q6327N mutation at the nsp15-16 site was introduced into cells. Either of the two mutations was proved to enhance significantly the 3CLpro-mediated cleavage efficiency at the nsp15-16 site with a P1-Asn substitution and compensate for the detrimental effects on recovery of infectious virus.
doi:10.1128/JVI.02490-09
PMCID: PMC2898227  PMID: 20444893
10.  Inhibition of Protein Kinase R Activation and Upregulation of GADD34 Expression Play a Synergistic Role in Facilitating Coronavirus Replication by Maintaining De Novo Protein Synthesis in Virus-Infected Cells▿  
Journal of Virology  2009;83(23):12462-12472.
A diversity of strategies is evolved by RNA viruses to manipulate the host translation machinery in order to create an optimal environment for viral replication and progeny production. One of the common viral targets is the α subunit of eukaryotic initiation factor 2 (eIF-2α). In this report, we show that phosphorylation of eIF-2α was severely suppressed in human and animal cells infected with the coronavirus infectious bronchitis virus (IBV). To understand whether this suppression is through inhibition of protein kinase R (PKR), the double-stranded-RNA-dependent kinase that is one of the main kinases responsible for phosphorylation of eIF-2α, cells infected with IBV were analyzed by Western blotting. The results showed that the level of phosphorylated PKR was greatly reduced in IBV-infected cells. Overexpression of IBV structural and nonstructural proteins (nsp) demonstrated that nsp2 is a weak PKR antagonist. Furthermore, GADD34, a component of the protein phosphatase 1 (PP1) complex, which dephosphorylates eIF-2α, was significantly induced in IBV-infected cells. Inhibition of the PP1 activity by okadaic acid and overexpression of GADD34, eIF-2α, and PKR, as well as their mutant constructs in virus-infected cells, showed that these viral regulatory strategies played a synergistic role in facilitating coronavirus replication. Taken together, these results confirm that IBV has developed a combination of two mechanisms, i.e., blocking PKR activation and inducing GADD34 expression, to maintain de novo protein synthesis in IBV-infected cells and, meanwhile, to enhance viral replication.
doi:10.1128/JVI.01546-09
PMCID: PMC2786722  PMID: 19776135
11.  Proteolytic Activation of the Spike Protein at a Novel RRRR/S Motif Is Implicated in Furin-Dependent Entry, Syncytium Formation, and Infectivity of Coronavirus Infectious Bronchitis Virus in Cultured Cells▿  
Journal of Virology  2009;83(17):8744-8758.
The spike (S) protein of the coronavirus (CoV) infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) is cleaved into S1 and S2 subunits at the furin consensus motif RRFRR537/S in virus-infected cells. In this study, we observe that the S2 subunit of the IBV Beaudette strain is additionally cleaved at the second furin site (RRRR690/S) in cells expressing S constructs and in virus-infected cells. Detailed time course experiments showed that a peptide furin inhibitor, decanoyl-Arg-Val-Lys-Arg-chloromethylketone, blocked both viral entry and syncytium formation. Site-directed mutagenesis studies revealed that the S1/S2 cleavage by furin was not necessary for, but could promote, syncytium formation by and infectivity of IBV in Vero cells. In contrast, the second site is involved in the furin dependence of viral entry and syncytium formation. Mutations of the second site from furin-cleavable RRRR/S to non-furin-cleavable PRRRS and AAARS, respectively, abrogated the furin dependence of IBV entry. Instead, a yet-to-be-identified serine protease(s) was involved, as revealed by protease inhibitor studies. Furthermore, sequence analysis of CoV S proteins by multiple alignments showed conservation of an XXXR/S motif, cleavable by either furin or other trypsin-like proteases, at a position equivalent to the second IBV furin site. Taken together, these results suggest that proteolysis at a novel XXXR/S motif in the S2 subunit might be a common mechanism for the entry of CoV into cells.
doi:10.1128/JVI.00613-09
PMCID: PMC2738192  PMID: 19553314
12.  Structure and Inhibition of the SARS Coronavirus Envelope Protein Ion Channel 
PLoS Pathogens  2009;5(7):e1000511.
The envelope (E) protein from coronaviruses is a small polypeptide that contains at least one α-helical transmembrane domain. Absence, or inactivation, of E protein results in attenuated viruses, due to alterations in either virion morphology or tropism. Apart from its morphogenetic properties, protein E has been reported to have membrane permeabilizing activity. Further, the drug hexamethylene amiloride (HMA), but not amiloride, inhibited in vitro ion channel activity of some synthetic coronavirus E proteins, and also viral replication. We have previously shown for the coronavirus species responsible for severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS-CoV) that the transmembrane domain of E protein (ETM) forms pentameric α-helical bundles that are likely responsible for the observed channel activity. Herein, using solution NMR in dodecylphosphatidylcholine micelles and energy minimization, we have obtained a model of this channel which features regular α-helices that form a pentameric left-handed parallel bundle. The drug HMA was found to bind inside the lumen of the channel, at both the C-terminal and the N-terminal openings, and, in contrast to amiloride, induced additional chemical shifts in ETM. Full length SARS-CoV E displayed channel activity when transiently expressed in human embryonic kidney 293 (HEK-293) cells in a whole-cell patch clamp set-up. This activity was significantly reduced by hexamethylene amiloride (HMA), but not by amiloride. The channel structure presented herein provides a possible rationale for inhibition, and a platform for future structure-based drug design of this potential pharmacological target.
Author Summary
Coronaviruses are viral pathogens that cause a variety of lethal diseases in birds and mammals, and common colds in humans. In 2003, however, an animal coronavirus was able to infect humans and produced severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), causing a near pandemic. Such events are likely to reoccur in the future, and new antiviral strategies are necessary. A small coronavirus protein called ‘envelope’ is important for pathogenesis, affecting the formation of the viral envelope and the distribution of the virus in the body. In vitro studies have shown that synthetic coronavirus envelope proteins have channel activity that in some cases has been inhibited by the drug hexamethylene amiloride, but not by amiloride. In the present paper, we have characterized the structure responsible for this channel activity. We have also determined the binding site of the drug hexamethylene amiloride in the channel, and shown that amiloride has only a mild effect on the NMR signals from the protein. The validity of these results is supported using mammalian cells expressing full length SARS-CoV E, where channel activity was inhibited by hexamethylene amiloride, but only mildly by amiloride. The structural model described for this channel provides a valuable insight into coronavirus envelope protein ion channel activity, and could serve as a platform for the development of novel anti-viral drugs.
doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1000511
PMCID: PMC2702000  PMID: 19593379
13.  Acquisition of Cell–Cell Fusion Activity by Amino Acid Substitutions in Spike Protein Determines the Infectivity of a Coronavirus in Cultured Cells 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(7):e6130.
Coronavirus host and cell specificities are determined by specific interactions between the viral spike (S) protein and host cell receptor(s). Avian coronavirus infectious bronchitis (IBV) has been adapted to embryonated chicken eggs, primary chicken kidney (CK) cells, monkey kidney cell line Vero, and other human and animal cells. Here we report that acquisition of the cell–cell fusion activity by amino acid mutations in the S protein determines the infectivity of IBV in cultured cells. Expression of S protein derived from Vero- and CK-adapted strains showed efficient induction of membrane fusion. However, expression of S protein cloned from the third passage of IBV in chicken embryo (EP3) did not show apparent syncytia formation. By construction of chimeric S constructs and site-directed mutagenesis, a point mutation (L857-F) at amino acid position 857 in the heptad repeat 1 region of S protein was shown to be responsible for its acquisition of the cell–cell fusion activity. Furthermore, a G405-D point mutation in the S1 domain, which was acquired during further propagation of Vero-adapted IBV in Vero cells, could enhance the cell–cell fusion activity of the protein. Re-introduction of L857 back to the S gene of Vero-adapted IBV allowed recovery of variants that contain the introduced L857. However, compensatory mutations in S1 and some distant regions of S2 were required for restoration of the cell–cell fusion activity of S protein carrying L857 and for the infectivity of the recovered variants in cultured cells. This study demonstrates that acquisition of the cell–cell fusion activity in S protein determines the selection and/or adaptation of a coronavirus from chicken embryo to cultured cells of human and animal origins.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0006130
PMCID: PMC2700284  PMID: 19572016
14.  Interaction of the Coronavirus Infectious Bronchitis Virus Membrane Protein with β-Actin and Its Implication in Virion Assembly and Budding 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(3):e4908.
Coronavirus M protein is an essential component of virion and plays pivotal roles in virion assembly, budding and maturation. The M protein is integrated into the viral envelope with three transmembrane domains flanked by a short amino-terminal ectodomain and a large carboxy-terminal endodomain. In this study, we showed co-purification of the M protein from coronavirus infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) with actin. To understand the cellular factors that may be involved in virion assembly, budding and maturation processes, IBV M was used as the bait in a yeast two-hybrid screen, resulting in the identification of β-actin as a potentially interacting partner. This interaction was subsequently confirmed by coimmunoprecipitation and immunofluorescence microscopy in mammalian cells, and mutation of amino acids A159 and K160 on the M protein abolished the interaction. Introduction of the A159-K160 mutation into an infectious IBV clone system blocks the infectivity of the clone, although viral RNA replication and subgenomic mRNA transcription were actively detected. Disruption of actin filaments with cell-permeable agent cytochalasin D at early stages of the infection cycle led to the detection of viral protein synthesis in infected cells but not release of virus particles to the cultured media. However, the same treatment at late stages of the infection cycle did not affect the release of virus particles to the media, suggesting that disruption of the actin filaments might block virion assembly and budding, but not release of the virus particles. This study reveals an essential function of actin in the replication cycle of coronavirus.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004908
PMCID: PMC2653722  PMID: 19287488
15.  Coronavirus Spike Protein Inhibits Host Cell Translation by Interaction with eIF3f 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(1):e1494.
In response to viral infection, the expression of numerous host genes, including predominantly a number of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines, is usually up-regulated at both transcriptional and translational levels. It was noted that in cells infected with coronavirus, transcription and translation of some of these genes were differentially induced. Drastic induction of their expression at the transcriptional level was observed in cells infected with coronavirus. However, induction of the same genes at the translational level was usually found to be minimal to moderate. To investigate the underlying mechanisms, yeast two-hybrid screen was carried out using SARS-CoV proteins as baits, revealing that a subunit of the eukaryotic initiation factor 3 (eIF3), eIF3f, may interact with the N-terminal region of the SARS-CoV spike (S) protein. This interaction was subsequently confirmed by co-immunoprecipitation and immunofluorescent staining. Meanwhile, parallel experiments confirmed that eIF3f could also interact with the S protein of another coronavirus, the avian coronavirus infectious bronchitis virus (IBV). These interactions led to the inhibition of translation of a reporter gene in both in vitro expression system and intact cells. Interestingly, IBV-infected cells stably expressing a Flag-tagged eIF3f showed much higher translation of IL-6 and IL-8, suggesting that the interaction between coronavirus S protein and eIF3f plays a functional role in controlling the expression of host genes, especially genes that are induced during coronavirus infection cycles. This study reveals a novel mechanism exploited by coronavirus to regulate viral pathogenesis.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0001494
PMCID: PMC2204050  PMID: 18231581
16.  Structure of the SARS coronavirus main proteinase as an active C2 crystallographic dimer 
An orthorhombic crystal form of the SARS CoV main proteinase diffracting to a resolution of 1.9 Å is reported. The conformation of residues in the catalytic site indicates an active enzyme.
The 34 kDa main proteinase (Mpro) from the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) plays an important role in the virus life cycle through the specific processing of viral polyproteins. As such, SARS-CoV Mpro is a key target for the identification of specific inhibitors directed against the SARS virus. With a view to facilitating the development of such compounds, crystals were obtained of the enzyme at pH 6.5 in the orthorhombic space group P21212 that diffract to a resolution of 1.9 Å. These crystals contain one monomer per asymmetric unit and the biologically active dimer is generated via the crystallographic twofold axis. The conformation of the catalytic site indicates that the enzyme is active in the crystalline form and thus suitable for structure-based inhibition studies.
doi:10.1107/S1744309105033257
PMCID: PMC1978130  PMID: 16511208
protease; crystallographic dimer; SARS coronavirus

Results 1-16 (16)