|Journal of Virology Structure and Assembly|
Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) has become an economically critical factor in swine industry since its worldwide spread in the 1990s. Infection by its causative agent, PRRS virus (PRRSV), was proven to be mediated by an indispensable receptor, porcine CD163 (pCD163), and the fifth scavenger receptor cysteine-rich domain (SRCR5) is essential for virus infection. However, the structural details and specific residues of pCD163 SRCR5 involved in infection have not been defined yet. In this study, we prepared recombinant pCD163 SRCR5 in Drosophila melanogaster Schneider 2 (S2) cells and determined its crystal structure at a high resolution of 2.0 AAring;. This structure includes a markedly long loop region and shows a special electrostatic potential, and these are significantly different from those of other members of the scavenger receptor cysteine-rich superfamily (SRCR-SF). Subsequently, we carried out structure-based mutational studies to identify that the arginine residue at position 561 (Arg561) in the long loop region is important for PRRSV infection. Further, we showed Arg561 probably takes effect on the binding of pCD163 to PRRSV during virus invasion. Altogether the current work provides the first view of the CD163 SRCR domain, expands our knowledge of the invasion mechanism of PRRSV, and supports a molecular basis for prevention and control of the virus.
IMPORTANCE PRRS has caused huge economic losses to pig farming. The syndrome is caused by PRRSV, and PRRSV infection has been shown to be mediated by host cell surface receptors. One of them, pCD163, is especially indispensable, and its SRCR5 domain has been further demonstrated to play a significant role in virus infection. However, its structural details and the residues involved in infection are unknown. In this study, we determined the crystal structure of pCD163 SRCR5 and then carried out site-directed mutational studies based on the crystal structure to elucidate which residue is important. Our work not only provides structural information on the CD163 SRCR domain for the first time but also indicates the molecular mechanism of PRRSV infection and lays a foundation for future applications in prevention and control of PRRS.
Palmitoylation is a reversible, posttranslational modification that helps target proteins to cellular membranes. The alphavirus small membrane proteins 6K and TF have been reported to be palmitoylated and to positively regulate budding. 6K and TF are isoforms that are identical in their N termini but unique in their C termini due to a nndash;1 ribosomal frameshift during translation. In this study, we used cysteine (Cys) mutants to test differential palmitoylation of the Sindbis virus 6K and TF proteins. We modularly mutated the five Cys residues in the identical N termini of 6K and TF, the four additional Cys residues in TF's unique C terminus, or all nine Cys residues in TF. Using these mutants, we determined that TF palmitoylation occurs primarily in the N terminus. In contrast, 6K is not palmitoylated, even on these shared residues. In the C-terminal Cys mutant, TF protein levels increase both in the cell and in the released virion compared to the wild type. In viruses with the N-terminal Cys residues mutated, TF is much less efficiently localized to the plasma membrane, and it is not incorporated into the virion. The three Cys mutants have minor defects in cell culture growth but a high incidence of abnormal particle morphologies compared to the wild-type virus as determined by transmission electron microscopy. We propose a model where the C terminus of TF modulates the palmitoylation of TF at the N terminus, and palmitoylated TF is preferentially trafficked to the plasma membrane for virus budding.
IMPORTANCE Alphaviruses are a reemerging viral cause of arthritogenic disease. Recently, the small 6K and TF proteins of alphaviruses were shown to contribute to virulence in vivo. Nevertheless, a clear understanding of the molecular mechanisms by which either protein acts to promote virus infection is missing. The TF protein is a component of budded virions, and optimal levels of TF correlate positively with wild-type-like particle morphology. In this study, we show that the palmitoylation of TF regulates its localization to the plasma membrane, which is the site of alphavirus budding. Mutants in which TF is not palmitoylated display drastically reduced plasma membrane localization, which effectively prevents TF from participating in budding or being incorporated into virus particles. Investigation of the regulation of TF will aid current efforts in the alphavirus field searching for approaches to mitigate alphaviral disease in humans.