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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

  • Functional Characterization of Nuclear Trafficking Signals in Pseudorabies Virus pUL31 [Structure and Assembly]

  • The herpesviral nuclear egress complex (NEC), consisting of pUL31 and pUL34 homologs, mediates efficient translocation of newly synthesized capsids from the nucleus to the cytosol. The tail-anchored membrane protein pUL34 is autonomously targeted to the nuclear envelope, while pUL31 is recruited to the inner nuclear membrane (INM) by interaction with pUL34. A nuclear localization signal (NLS) in several pUL31 homologs suggests importin-mediated translocation of the protein. Here we demonstrate that deletion or mutation of the NLS in pseudorabies virus (PrV) pUL31 resulted in exclusively cytosolic localization, indicating active nuclear export. Deletion or mutation of a predicted nuclear export signal (NES) in mutant constructs lacking a functional NLS resulted in diffuse nuclear and cytosolic localization, indicating that both signals are functional. pUL31 molecules lacking the complete NLS or NES were not recruited to the INM by pUL34, while site-specifically mutated proteins formed the NEC and partially complemented the defect of the UL31 deletion mutant. Our data demonstrate that the N terminus of pUL31, encompassing the NLS, is required for efficient nuclear targeting but not for pUL34 interaction, while the C terminus, containing the NES but not necessarily the NES itself, is required for complex formation and efficient budding of viral capsids at the INM. Moreover, pUL31-NLS displayed a dominant negative effect on wild-type PrV replication, probably by diverting pUL34 to cytoplasmic membranes.

    IMPORTANCE The molecular details of nuclear egress of herpesvirus capsids are still enigmatic. Although the key players, homologs of herpes simplex virus pUL34 and pUL31, which interact and form the heterodimeric nuclear egress complex, are well known, the molecular basis of this interaction and the successive budding, vesicle formation, and scission from the INM, as well as capsid release into the cytoplasm, remain largely obscure. Here we show that classical cellular targeting signals for nuclear import and export are important for proper localization and function of the NEC, thus regulating herpesvirus nuclear egress.

  • Human Noroviruses' Fondness for Histo-Blood Group Antigens [Structure and Assembly]

  • Human noroviruses are the dominant cause of outbreaks of gastroenteritis around the world. Human noroviruses interact with the polymorphic human histo-blood group antigens (HBGAs), and this interaction is thought to be important for infection. Indeed, synthetic HBGAs or HBGA-expressing enteric bacteria were shown to enhance norovirus infection in B cells. A number of studies have found a possible relationship between HBGA type and norovirus susceptibility. The genogroup II, genotype 4 (GII.4) noroviruses are the dominant cluster, evolve every other year, and are thought to modify their binding interactions with different HBGA types. Here we show high-resolution X-ray crystal structures of the capsid protruding (P) domains from epidemic GII.4 variants from 2004, 2006, and 2012, cocrystallized with a panel of HBGA types (H type 2, Lewis Y, Lewis B, Lewis A, Lewis X, A type, and B type). Many of the HBGA binding interactions were found to be complex, involving capsid loop movements, alternative HBGA conformations, and HBGA rotations. We showed that a loop (residues 391 to 395) was elegantly repositioned to allow for Lewis Y binding. This loop was also slightly shifted to provide direct hydrogen- and water-mediated bonds with Lewis B. We considered that the flexible loop modulated Lewis HBGA binding. The GII.4 noroviruses have dominated outbreaks over the past decade, which may be explained by their exquisite HBGA binding mechanisms, their fondness for Lewis HBGAs, and their temporal amino acid modifications.

    IMPORTANCE Our data provide a comprehensive picture of GII.4 P domain and HBGA binding interactions. The exceptionally high resolutions of our X-ray crystal structures allowed us to accurately recognize novel GII.4 P domain interactions with numerous HBGA types. We showed that the GII.4 P domain-HBGA interactions involved complex binding mechanisms that were not previously observed in norovirus structural studies. Many of the GII.4 P domain-HBGA interactions we identified were negative in earlier enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)-based studies. Altogether, our data show that the GII.4 norovirus P domains can accommodate numerous HBGA types.

  • The Amphipathic Helix of Adenovirus Capsid Protein VI Contributes to Penton Release and Postentry Sorting [Structure and Assembly]

  • Nuclear delivery of the adenoviral genome requires that the capsid cross the limiting membrane of the endocytic compartment and traverse the cytosol to reach the nucleus. This endosomal escape is initiated upon internalization and involves a highly coordinated process of partial disassembly of the entering capsid to release the membrane lytic internal capsid protein VI. Using wild-type and protein VI-mutated human adenovirus serotype 5 (HAdV-C5), we show that capsid stability and membrane rupture are major determinants of entry-related sorting of incoming adenovirus virions. Furthermore, by using electron cryomicroscopy, as well as penton- and protein VI-specific antibodies, we show that the amphipathic helix of protein VI contributes to capsid stability by preventing premature disassembly and deployment of pentons and protein VI. Thus, the helix has a dual function in maintaining the metastable state of the capsid by preventing premature disassembly and mediating efficient membrane lysis to evade lysosomal targeting. Based on these findings and structural data from cryo-electron microscopy, we suggest a refined disassembly mechanism upon entry.

    IMPORTANCE In this study, we show the intricate connection of adenovirus particle stability and the entry-dependent release of the membrane-lytic capsid protein VI required for endosomal escape. We show that the amphipathic helix of the adenovirus internal protein VI is required to stabilize pentons in the particle while coinciding with penton release upon entry and that release of protein VI mediates membrane lysis, thereby preventing lysosomal sorting. We suggest that this dual functionality of protein VI ensures an optimal disassembly process by balancing the metastable state of the mature adenovirus particle.

  • Structural Flexibility of a Conserved Antigenic Region in Hepatitis C Virus Glycoprotein E2 Recognized by Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies [Structure and Assembly]

  • Neutralizing antibodies (NAbs) targeting glycoprotein E2 are important for the control of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. One conserved antigenic site (amino acids 412 to 423) is disordered in the reported E2 structure, but a synthetic peptide mimicking this site forms a bbeta;-hairpin in complex with three independent NAbs. Our structure of the same peptide in complex with NAb 3/11 demonstrates a strikingly different extended conformation. We also show that residues 412 to 423 are essential for virus entry but not for E2 folding. Together with the neutralizing capacity of the 3/11 Fab fragment, this indicates an unexpected structural flexibility within this epitope. NAbs 3/11 and AP33 (recognizing the extended and bbeta;-hairpin conformations, respectively) display similar neutralizing activities despite converse binding kinetics. Our results suggest that HCV utilizes conformational flexibility as an immune evasion strategy, contributing to the limited immunogenicity of this epitope in patients, similar to the conformational flexibility described for other enveloped and nonenveloped viruses.

    IMPORTANCE Approximately 180 million people worldwide are infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV), and neutralizing antibodies play an important role in controlling the replication of this major human pathogen. We show here that one of the most conserved antigenic sites within the major glycoprotein E2 (amino acids 412 to 423), which is disordered in the recently reported crystal structure of an E2 core fragment, can adopt different conformations in the context of the infectious virus particle. Recombinant Fab fragments recognizing different conformations of this antigenic site have similar neutralization activities in spite of converse kinetic binding parameters. Of note, an antibody response targeting this antigenic region is less frequent than those targeting other more immunogenic regions in E2. Our results suggest that the observed conformational flexibility in this conserved antigenic region contributes to the evasion of the humoral host immune response, facilitating chronicity and the viral spread of HCV within an infected individual.

  • Structure-Function Analysis of Vaccinia Virus H7 Protein Reveals a Novel Phosphoinositide Binding Fold Essential for Poxvirus Replication [Structure and Assembly]

  • Phosphoinositides and phosphoinositide binding proteins play a critical role in membrane and protein trafficking in eukaryotes. Their critical role in replication of cytoplasmic viruses has just begun to be understood. Poxviruses, a family of large cytoplasmic DNA viruses, rely on the intracellular membranes to develop their envelope, and poxvirus morphogenesis requires enzymes from the cellular phosphoinositide metabolic pathway. However, the role of phosphoinositides in poxvirus replication remains unclear, and no poxvirus proteins show any homology to eukaryotic phosphoinositide binding domains. Recently, a group of poxvirus proteins, termed viral membrane assembly proteins (VMAPs), were identified as essential for poxvirus membrane biogenesis. A key component of VMAPs is the H7 protein. Here we report the crystal structure of the H7 protein from vaccinia virus. The H7 structure displays a novel fold comprised of seven aalpha;-helices and a highly curved three-stranded antiparallel bbeta;-sheet. We identified a phosphoinositide binding site in H7, comprised of basic residues on a surface patch and the flexible C-terminal tail. These residues were found to be essential for viral replication and for binding of H7 to phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate (PI3P) and phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate (PI4P). Our studies suggest that phosphoinositide binding by H7 plays an essential role in poxvirus membrane biogenesis.

    IMPORTANCE Poxvirus viral membrane assembly proteins (VMAPs) were recently shown to be essential for poxvirus membrane biogenesis. One of the key components of VMAPs is the H7 protein. However, no known structural motifs could be identified from its sequence, and there are no homologs of H7 outside the poxvirus family to suggest a biochemical function. We have determined the crystal structure of the vaccinia virus (VACV) H7 protein. The structure displays a novel fold with a distinct and positively charged surface. Our data demonstrate that H7 binds phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate and phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate and that the basic surface patch is indeed required for phosphoinositide binding. In addition, mutation of positively charged residues required for lipid binding disrupted VACV replication. Phosphoinositides and phosphoinositide binding proteins play critical roles in membrane and protein trafficking in eukaryotes. Our study demonstrates that VACV H7 displays a novel fold for phosphoinositide binding, which is essential for poxvirus replication.

  • Herpes Simplex Virus 1 gN Partners with gM To Modulate the Viral Fusion Machinery [Structure and Assembly]

  • Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) capsids are assembled in the nucleus, where they incorporate the viral genome. They then transit through the two nuclear membranes and are wrapped by a host-derived envelope. In the process, several HSV-1 proteins are targeted to the nuclear membranes, but their roles in viral nuclear egress are unclear. Among them, glycoprotein M (gM), a known modulator of virus-induced membrane fusion, is distributed on both the inner and outer nuclear membranes at the early stages of the infection, when no other viral glycoproteins are yet present there. Later on, it is found on perinuclear virions and ultimately redirected to the trans-Golgi network (TGN), where it cycles with the cell surface. In contrast, transfected gM is found only at the TGN and cell surface, hinting at an interaction with other viral proteins. Interestingly, many herpesvirus gM analogs interact with their gN counterparts, which typically alters their intracellular localization. To better understand how HSV-1 gM localization is regulated, we evaluated its ability to bind gN and discovered it does so in both transfected and infected cells, an interaction strongly weakened by the deletion of the gM amino terminus. Functionally, while gN had no impact on gM localization, gM redirected gN from the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) to the TGN. Most interestingly, gN overexpression stimulated the formation of syncytia in the context of an infection by a nonsyncytial strain, indicating that gM and gN not only physically but also functionally interact and that gN modulates gM's activity on membrane fusion.

    IMPORTANCE HSV-1 gM is an important modulator of virally induced cell-cell fusion and viral entry, a process that is likely finely modulated in time and space. Until now, little was known of the proteins that regulate gM's activity. In parallel, gM is found in various intracellular locations at different moments, ranging from nuclear membranes, perinuclear virions, the TGN, cell surface, and mature extracellular virions. In transfected cells, however, it is found only on the TGN and cell surface, hinting that its localization is modulated by other viral proteins. The present study identifies HSV-1 gN as a binding partner for gM, in agreement with their analogs in other herpesviruses, but most excitingly shows that gN modulates gM's impact on HSV-1-induced membrane fusion. These findings open up new research avenues on the viral fusion machinery.

  • Structural Analysis of a Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease Virus Binding to Histo-Blood Group Antigens [Structure and Assembly]

  • Rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) is a member of the Caliciviridae family (Lagovirus genus). RHDV is highly contagious and attaches to epithelial cells in the digestive or respiratory tract, leading to massive lesions with high mortality rates. A new variant of RHDV (termed RHDVb) recently has emerged, and previously vaccinated rabbits appear to have little protection against this new strain. Similar to human norovirus (Caliciviridae, Norovirus genus), RHDV binds histo-blood group antigens (HBGAs), and this is thought to be important for infection. Here, we report the HBGA binding site on the RHDVb capsid-protruding domain (P domain) using X-ray crystallography. The HBGA binding pocket was located in a negatively charged patch on the side of the P domain and at a dimeric interface. Residues from both monomers contributed to the HBGA binding and involved a network of direct hydrogen bonds and water-mediated interactions. An amino acid sequence alignment of different RHDV strains indicated that the residues directly interacting with the ABH-fucose of the HBGAs (Asp472, Asn474, and Ser479) were highly conserved. This result suggested that different RHDV strains also could bind HBGAs at the equivalent pocket. Moreover, several HBGA binding characteristics between RHDVb and human genogroup II norovirus were similar, which indicated a possible convergent evolution of HBGA binding interactions. Further structural studies with other RHDV strains are needed in order to better understand the HBGA binding mechanisms among the diverse RHDV strains.

    IMPORTANCE We identified, for the first time, the HBGA binding site on an RHDVb P domain using X-ray crystallography. Our results showed that RHDVb and human genogroup II noroviruses had similar HBGA binding interactions. Recently, it was discovered that synthetic HBGAs or HBGA-expressing enteric bacteria could enhance human genogroup II norovirus infection in B cells. Considering that RHDVb and genogroup II norovirus similarly interacted with HBGAs, it may be possible that a comparable cell culture system also could work with RHDVb. Taken together, these new findings will extend our understanding of calicivirus HBGA interactions and may help to elucidate the specific roles of HBGAs in calicivirus infections.

  • Analysis of Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus Type 1 Particles by Using Cryo-Electron Tomography [Structure and Assembly]

  • The particle structure of human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is poorly characterized. Here, we have used cryo-electron tomography to analyze HTLV-1 particle morphology. Particles produced from MT-2 cells were polymorphic, roughly spherical, and varied in size. Capsid cores, when present, were typically poorly defined polyhedral structures with at least one curved region contacting the inner face of the viral membrane. Most of the particles observed lacked a defined capsid core, which likely impacts HTLV-1 particle infectivity.

  • Deletion of the ORF9p Acidic Cluster Impairs the Nuclear Egress of Varicella-Zoster Virus Capsids [Structure and Assembly]

  • The protein encoded by ORF9 is essential for varicella-zoster virus (VZV) replication. Previous studies documented its presence in the trans-Golgi network and its involvement in secondary envelopment. In this work, we deleted the ORF9p acidic cluster, destroying its interaction with ORF47p, and this resulted in a nuclear accumulation of both proteins. This phenotype results in an accumulation of primary enveloped capsids in the perinuclear space, reflecting a capsid de-envelopment defect.