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Jean-Yves Sgro
Inst. for Mol.Virology
731B Bock Labs
1525 Linden Drive Madison, WI 53706

Current Papers in Structure and Assembly (Journal of Virology)

Journal of Virology Structure and Assembly

  • Cryo-Electron Microscopy Structure of Lactococcal Siphophage 1358 Virion [Structure and Assembly]

  • Lactococcus lactis, a Gram+ lactic acid-producing bacterium used for the manufacture of several fermented dairy products, is subject to infection by diverse virulent tailed phages, leading to industrial fermentation failures. This constant viral risk has led to a sustained interest in the study of their biology, diversity, and evolution. Lactococcal phages now constitute a wide ensemble of at least 10 distinct genotypes within the Caudovirales order, many of them belonging to the Siphoviridae family. Lactococcal siphophage 1358, currently the only member of its group, displays a noticeably high genomic similarity to some Listeria phages as well as a host range limited to a few L. lactis strains. These genomic and functional characteristics stimulated our interest in this phage. Here, we report the cryo-electron microscopy structure of the complete 1358 virion. Phage 1358 exhibits noteworthy features, such as a capsid with dextro handedness and protruding decorations on its capsid and tail. Observations of the baseplate of virion particles revealed at least two conformations, a closed and an open, activated form. Functional assays uncovered that the adsorption of phage 1358 to its host is Ca2+ independent, but this cation is necessary to complete its lytic cycle. Taken together, our results provide the complete structural picture of a unique lactococcal phage and expand our knowledge on the complex baseplate of phages of the Siphoviridae family.

    IMPORTANCE Phages of Lactococcus lactis are investigated mainly because they are sources of milk fermentation failures in the dairy industry. Despite the availability of several antiphage measures, new phages keep emerging in this ecosystem. In this study, we provide the cryo-electron microscopy reconstruction of a unique lactococcal phage that possesses genomic similarity to particular Listeria phages and has a host range restricted to only a minority of L. lactis strains. The capsid of phage 1358 displays the almost unique characteristic of being dextro handed. Its capsid and tail exhibit decorations that we assigned to nonspecific sugar binding modules. We observed the baseplate of 1358 in two conformations, a closed and an open form. We also found that the adsorption to its host, but not infection, is Ca2+ independent. Overall, this study advances our understanding of the adhesion mechanisms of siphophages.

  • Influenza Virus PB1 and Neuraminidase Gene Segments Can Cosegregate during Vaccine Reassortment Driven by Interactions in the PB1 Coding Region [Structure and Assembly]

  • Egg-grown influenza vaccine yields are maximized by infection with a seed virus produced by "classical reassortment" of a seasonal isolate with a highly egg-adapted strain. Seed viruses are selected based on a high-growth phenotype and the presence of the seasonal hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA) surface antigens. Retrospective analysis of H3N2 vaccine seed viruses indicated that, unlike other internal proteins that were predominantly derived from the high-growth parent A/Puerto Rico/8/34 (PR8), the polymerase subunit PB1 could be derived from either parent depending on the seasonal strain. We have recently shown that A/Udorn/307/72 (Udorn) models a seasonal isolate that yields reassortants bearing the seasonal PB1 gene. This is despite the fact that the reverse genetics-derived virus that includes Udorn PB1 with Udorn HA and NA on a PR8 background has inferior growth compared to the corresponding virus with PR8 PB1. Here we use competitive plasmid transfections to investigate the mechanisms driving selection of a less fit virus and show that the Udorn PB1 gene segment cosegregates with the Udorn NA gene segment. Analysis of chimeric PB1 genes revealed that the coselection of NA and PB1 segments was not directed through the previously identified packaging sequences but through interactions involving the internal coding region of the PB1 gene. This study identifies associations between viral genes that can direct selection in classical reassortment for vaccine production and which may also be of relevance to the gene constellations observed in past antigenic shift events where creation of a pandemic virus has involved reassortment.

    IMPORTANCE Influenza vaccine must be produced and administered in a timely manner in order to provide protection during the winter season, and poor-growing vaccine seed viruses can compromise this process. To maximize vaccine yields, manufacturers create hybrid influenza viruses with gene segments encoding the surface antigens from a seasonal virus isolate, important for immunity, and others from a virus with high growth properties. This involves coinfection of cells with both parent viruses and selection of dominant progeny bearing the seasonal antigens. We show that this method of creating hybrid viruses does not necessarily select for the best yielding virus because preferential pairing of gene segments when progeny viruses are produced determines the genetic makeup of the hybrids. This not only has implications for how hybrid viruses are selected for vaccine production but also sheds light on what drives and limits hybrid gene combinations that arise in nature, leading to pandemics.

  • Predicted Structure and Domain Organization of Rotavirus Capping Enzyme and Innate Immune Antagonist VP3 [Structure and Assembly]

  • Rotaviruses and orbiviruses are nonturreted Reoviridae members. The rotavirus VP3 protein is a multifunctional capping enzyme and antagonist of the interferon-induced cellular oligoadenylate synthetase-RNase L pathway. Despite mediating important processes, VP3 is the sole protein component of the rotavirus virion whose structure remains unknown. In the current study, we used sequence alignment and homology modeling to identify features common to nonturreted Reoviridae capping enzymes and to predict the domain organization, structure, and active sites of rotavirus VP3. Our results suggest that orbivirus and rotavirus capping enzymes share a domain arrangement similar to that of the bluetongue virus capping enzyme. Sequence alignments revealed conserved motifs and suggested that rotavirus and orbivirus capping enzymes contain a variable N-terminal domain, a central guanine-N7-methyltransferase domain that contains an additional inserted domain, and a C-terminal guanylyltransferase and RNA 5'-triphosphatase domain. Sequence conservation and homology modeling suggested that the insertion in the guanine-N7-methyltransferase domain is a ribose-2'-O-methyltransferase domain for most rotavirus species. Our analyses permitted putative identification of rotavirus VP3 active-site residues, including those that form the ribose-2'-O-methyltransferase catalytic tetrad, interact with S-adenosyl-l-methionine, and contribute to autoguanylation. Previous reports have indicated that group A rotavirus VP3 contains a C-terminal 2H-phosphodiesterase domain that can cleave 2'-5' oligoadenylates, thereby preventing RNase L activation. Our results suggest that a C-terminal phosphodiesterase domain is present in the capping enzymes from two additional rotavirus species. Together, these findings provide insight into a poorly understood area of rotavirus biology and are a springboard for future biochemical and structural studies of VP3.

    IMPORTANCE Rotaviruses are an important cause of severe diarrheal disease. The rotavirus VP3 protein caps viral mRNAs and helps combat cellular innate antiviral defenses, but little is known about its structure or enzymatic mechanisms. In this study, we used sequence- and structure-based alignments with related proteins to predict the structure of VP3 and identify enzymatic domains and active sites therein. This work provides insight into the mechanisms of rotavirus transcription and evasion of host innate immune defenses. An improved understanding of these processes may aid our ability to develop rotavirus vaccines and therapeutics.

  • Maturation and Vesicle-Mediated Egress of Primate Gammaherpesvirus Rhesus Monkey Rhadinovirus Require Inner Tegument Protein ORF52 [Structure and Assembly]

  • The tegument layer of herpesviruses comprises a collection of proteins that is unique to each viral species. In rhesus monkey rhadinovirus (RRV), a close relative of the human oncogenic pathogen Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus, ORF52 is a highly abundant tegument protein tightly associated with the capsid. We now report that ORF52 knockdown during RRV infection of rhesus fibroblasts led to a greater than 300-fold reduction in the viral titer by 48 h but had little effect on the number of released particles and caused only modest reductions in the levels of intracellular viral genomic DNA and no appreciable change in viral DNA packaging into capsids. These data suggested that the lack of ORF52 resulted in the production and release of defective particles. In support of this interpretation, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) revealed that without ORF52, capsid-like particles accumulated in the cytoplasm and were unable to enter egress vesicles, where final tegumentation and envelopment normally occur. TEM also demonstrated defective particles in the medium that closely resembled the accumulating intracellular particles, having neither a full tegument nor an envelope. The disruption in tegument formation from ORF52 suppression, therefore, prevented the incorporation of ORF45, restricting its subcellular localization to the nucleus and appearing, by confocal microscopy, to inhibit particle transport toward the periphery. Ectopic expression of small interfering RNA (siRNA)-resistant ORF52 was able to partially rescue all of these phenotypic changes. In sum, our results indicate that efficient egress of maturing virions and, in agreement with studies on murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (MHV-68), complete tegumentation and secondary envelopment are dependent on intact ORF52.

    IMPORTANCE The tegument, or middle layer, of herpesviruses comprises both viral and cellular proteins that play key roles in the viral life cycle. A subset of these proteins is present only within members of one of the three subfamilies (alphaherpesviruses, betaherpesviruses, or gammaherpesviruses) of Herpesviridae. In this report, we show that the gammaherpesvirus-specific tegument protein ORF52 is critical for maturation of RRV, the closest relative of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) (a human cancer-causing pathogen) that has undergone this type of analysis. Without ORF52, the nascent subviral particles are essentially stuck in maturation limbo, unable to acquire the tegument or outer (envelope) layers. This greatly attenuates infectivity. Our data, together with earlier work on a murine homolog, as well as a more distantly related human homolog, provide a more complete understanding of how early protein interactions involving virus-encoded tegument proteins are critical for virus assembly and are also, therefore, potentially attractive therapeutic targets.

  • Structure of Influenza Virus N7: the Last Piece of the Neuraminidase "Jigsaw" Puzzle [Structure and Assembly]

  • There are nine subtypes of influenza A virus neuraminidase (NA), N1 to N9. In addition, influenza B virus also contains NA, and there are two influenza virus NA-like molecules, N10 and N11, which were recently identified from bats. Crystal structures for all of these proteins have been solved, with the exception of N7, and there is no published report of N6, although a structure has been deposited in the Protein Data Bank. Here, we present the N7 and N6 structures at 2.1 AAring; and 1.8 AAring;, respectively. Structural comparison of all NA subtypes shows that both N7 and N6 highly resemble typical group 2 NA structures with some special characteristics, including an additional cavity adjacent to their active sites formed by novel 340-loop conformations. Comparative analysis also revealed new structural insights into the N-glycosylation, calcium binding, and second sialic acid binding site of influenza virus NA. This comprehensive study is critical for understanding the complexity of the most successful influenza drug target and for the structure-based design of novel influenza inhibitors.

    IMPORTANCE Influenza viruses impose a great burden on society, by the human-adapted seasonal types as well as by variants that occasionally jump from the avian reservoir to infect humans. The surface glycoprotein neuraminidase (NA) is essential for the propagation of the virus and currently the most successfully drug-targeted molecule. Therefore, the structural and functional analysis of NA is critical for the prevention and control of influenza infections. There are nine subtypes of influenza A virus NA (N1 to N9). In addition, influenza B virus also contains NA, and there are two influenza NA-like molecules, N10 and N11, which were recently identified in bats. Crystal structures for all of these proteins have been solved and reported with the exception of N7 and N6. The structural analysis of influenza virus N7 and N6 presented in this study therefore completes the puzzle and adds to a comprehensive understanding of influenza virus NA.

  • Isolation and Characterization of the DNA and Protein Binding Activities of Adenovirus Core Protein V [Structure and Assembly]

  • The structure of adenovirus outer capsid was revealed recently at 3- to 4-AAring; resolution (V. Reddy, S. Natchiar, P. Stewart, and G. Nemerow, Science 329:1071nndash;1075, 2010,; however, precise details on the function and biochemical and structural features for the inner core still are lacking. Protein V is one the most important components of the adenovirus core, as it links the outer capsid via association with protein VI with the inner DNA core. Protein V is a highly basic protein that strongly binds to DNA in a nonspecific manner. We report the expression of a soluble protein V that exists in monomer-dimer equilibrium. Using reversible cross-linking affinity purification in combination with mass spectrometry, we found that protein V contains multiple DNA binding sites. The binding sites from protein V mediate heat-stable nucleic acid associations, with some of the binding sites possibly masked in the virus by other core proteins. We also demonstrate direct interaction between soluble proteins V and VI, thereby revealing the bridging of the inner DNA core with the outer capsid proteins. These findings are consistent with a model of nucleosome-like structures proposed for the adenovirus core and encapsidated DNA. They also suggest an additional role for protein V in linking the inner nucleic acid core with protein VI on the inner capsid shell.

    IMPORTANCE Scant knowledge exists of how the inner core of adenovirus containing its double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) genome and associated proteins is organized. Here, we report a purification scheme for a recombinant form of protein V that allowed analysis of its interactions with the nucleic acid core region. We demonstrate that protein V exhibits stable associations with dsDNA due to the presence of multiple nucleic acid binding sites identified both in the isolated recombinant protein and in virus particles. As protein V also binds to the membrane lytic protein VI molecules, this core protein may serve as a bridge from the inner dsDNA core to the inner capsid shell.