|Journal of Virology Structure and Assembly|
Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a widespread human pathogen that causes asymptomatic infection in healthy individuals but poses a serious threat to immunocompromised patients. During the late phase of HCMV infection, the viral capsid is transported to the cytoplasmic viral assembly center (cVAC), where it is enclosed by the tegument protein layer and the viral envelope. The cVAC consists of circularly arranged vesicles from the trans-Golgi and endosomal networks. The HCMV gene UL35 encodes ppUL35 and its shorter form, ppUL35A. We have previously shown that the UL35 gene is involved in HCMV assembly, but it is unknown how UL35 proteins regulate viral assembly. Here we show that sorting nexin 5 (SNX5), a component of the retromer and part of the retrograde transport pathway, interacts with UL35 proteins. Expression of wild-type proteins but not mutants defective in SNX5 binding resulted in the cellular redistribution of the cation-independent mannose-6-phosphate receptor (CI-M6PR), indicating that UL35 proteins bind and negatively regulate SNX5 to modulate cellular transport pathways. Furthermore, binding of UL35 proteins to SNX5 was required for efficient viral replication and for transport of the most abundant HCMV glycoprotein B (gB; gpUL55) to the cVAC. These results indicate that ppUL35 and ppUL35A control the localization of the essential gB through the regulation of a retrograde transport pathway. Thus, this work is the first to define a molecular interaction between a tegument protein and a vesicular transport factor to regulate glycoprotein localization.
IMPORTANCE Human cytomegalovirus is ubiquitously present in the healthy population, but reactivation or reinfection can cause serious, life-threatening infections in immunocompromised patients. For completion of its lytic cycle, human cytomegalovirus induces formation of an assembly center where mature virus particles are formed from multiple viral proteins. Viral glycoproteins use separate vesicular pathways for transport to the assembly center, which are incompletely understood. Our research identified a viral structural protein which affects the localization of one of the major glycoproteins. We could link this change in glycoprotein localization to an interaction of the structural protein with a cellular protein involved in regulation of vesicle transport. This increases our understanding of how the virus intersects into cellular regulatory pathways to enhance its own replication.
During immature capsid assembly in cells, human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Gag co-opts a host RNA granule, forming a pathway of intracellular assembly intermediates containing host components, including two cellular facilitators of assembly, ABCE1 and DDX6. A similar assembly pathway has been observed for other primate lentiviruses. Here we asked whether feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), a nonprimate lentivirus, also forms RNA granule-derived capsid assembly intermediates. First, we showed that the released FIV immature capsid and a large FIV Gag-containing intracellular complex are unstable during analysis, unlike for HIV-1. We identified harvest conditions, including in situ cross-linking, that overcame this problem, revealing a series of FIV Gag-containing complexes corresponding in size to HIV-1 assembly intermediates. Previously, we showed that assembly-defective HIV-1 Gag mutants are arrested at specific assembly intermediates; here we identified four assembly-defective FIV Gag mutants, including three not previously studied, and demonstrated that they appear to be arrested at the same intermediate as the cognate HIV-1 mutants. Further evidence that these FIV Gag-containing complexes correspond to assembly intermediates came from coimmunoprecipitations demonstrating that endogenous ABCE1 and the RNA granule protein DDX6 are associated with FIV Gag, as shown previously for HIV-1 Gag, but are not associated with a ribosomal protein, at steady state. Additionally, we showed that FIV Gag associates with another RNA granule protein, DCP2. Finally, we validated the FIV Gag-ABCE1 and FIV Gag-DCP2 interactions with proximity ligation assays demonstrating colocalization in situ. Together, these data support a model in which primate and nonprimate lentiviruses form intracellular capsid assembly intermediates derived from nontranslating host RNA granules.
IMPORTANCE Like HIV-1 Gag, FIV Gag assembles into immature capsids; however, it is not known whether FIV Gag progresses through a pathway of immature capsid assembly intermediates derived from host RNA granules, as shown for HIV-1 Gag. Here we showed that FIV Gag forms complexes that resemble HIV-1 capsid assembly intermediates in size and in their association with ABCE1 and DDX6, two host facilitators of HIV-1 immature capsid assembly that are found in HIV-1 assembly intermediates. Our studies also showed that known and novel assembly-defective FIV Gag mutants fail to progress past putative intermediates in a pattern resembling that observed for HIV-1 Gag mutants. Finally, we used imaging to demonstrate colocalization of FIV Gag with ABCE1 and with the RNA granule protein DCP2. Thus, we conclude that formation of assembly intermediates derived from host RNA granules is likely conserved between primate and nonprimate lentiviruses and could provide targets for future antiviral strategies.
Encapsidation of the viral genomes, leading to the assembly of the nucleocapsids to form infectious progeny virions, is a key step in many virus life cycles. Baculovirus nucleocapsid assembly is a complex process that involves many proteins. Our previous studies showed that the deletion of the core gene 38K (ac98) interrupted the nucleocapsid assembly by producing capsid sheaths devoid of viral genomes by an unknown mechanism. All homologs of 38K contain conserved motifs of the haloacid dehalogenase superfamily, which are involved in phosphoryl transfer. The requirements of these motifs for nucleocapsid assembly, confirmed in the present study, suggest that 38K may be a functioning haloacid dehalogenase. P6.9 is also encoded by a core gene (ac100) and is required for viral genome encapsidation. It has been reported that multiple phosphorylated species of P6.9 are present in virus-infected cells, while only an unphosphorylated species is detected in the budded virus. Therefore, whether 38K mediates the dephosphorylation of P6.9 was investigated. An additional phosphorylated species of P6.9 in 38K-deleted or -mutated virus-transfected cells was detected, and the dephosphorylated sites mediated by 38K were determined by mass spectrometry. To assess the effects of dephosphorylation of P6.9 mediated by 38K on virus replication, these sites were mutated to glutamic acids (phosphorylation-mimic mutant) or to alanines (phosphorylation-deficient mutant). Studies showed that the nucleocapsid assembly was interrupted in phosphorylation-mimic mutant virus-transfected cells. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that 38K mediates the dephosphorylation of specific sites at the C terminus of P6.9, which is essential for viral genome encapsidation.
IMPORTANCE Genome packaging is a fundamental process in the virus life cycle, and viruses have different strategies to perform this step. For several double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) viruses, the procapsid is formed before genome encapsidation, which may require basic proteins that help to neutralize the nucleic acid charge repulsion to facilitate the compaction of the genome within the confined capsid space. Baculovirus encodes a small basic protein, P6.9, which is required for a variety of processes in the virus infection cycle. The phosphorylation of P6.9 is thought to result in nucleocapsid uncoating, while the dephosphorylation of P6.9 is involved in viral DNA encapsidation during nucleocapsid assembly. Here, we demonstrate that a haloacid dehalogenase homolog encoded by baculovirus core gene 38K is involved in nucleocapsid assembly by mediating the dephosphorylation of 5 specific sites at the C terminus of P6.9. This finding contributes to the understanding of the mechanisms of virus nucleocapsid assembly.