|Journal of Virology Structure and Assembly|
The Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) belongs to the Tospovirus genus of the Bunyaviridae family and represents the sole plant-infecting group within bunyavirus. TSWV encodes a nucleocapsid protein (N) which encapsidates the RNA genome to form a ribonucleoprotein complex (RNP). In addition, the N has multiple roles during the infection of plant cells. Here, we report the crystal structure of the full-length TSWV N. The N features a body domain consisting of an N-lobe and a C-lobe. These lobes clamp a positively charged groove which may constitute the RNA binding site. Furthermore, the body domains are flanked by N- and C-terminal arms which mediate homotypic interactions to the neighboring subunits, resulting in a ring-shaped N trimer. Interestingly, the C terminus of one protomer forms an additional interaction with the protomer of an adjacent trimer in the crystal, which may constitute a higher-order oligomerization contact. In this way, this study provides insights into the structure and trimeric assembly of TSWV N, which help to explain previous functional findings, but also suggests distinct N interactions within a higher-order RNP.
IMPORTANCE TSWV is one of the most devastating plant pathogens that cause severe diseases in numerous agronomic and ornamental crops worldwide. TSWV is also the prototypic member of the Tospovirus genus, which is the sole group of plant-infecting viruses in the bunyavirus family. This study determined the structure of full-length TSWV N in an oligomeric state. The structural observations explain previously identified biological properties of TSWV N. Most importantly, the additional homotypic interaction between the C terminus of one protomer with another protomer indicates that there is a distinct mechanism of RNP formation in the bunyavirus family, thereby enhancing the current knowledge of negative-sense single-stranded RNA virus-encoded N. TSWV N is the last remaining representative N with an unknown structure in the bunyavirus family. Combined with previous studies, the structure of TSWV N helps to build a complete picture of the bunyavirus-encoded N family and reveals a close evolutionary relationship between orthobunyavirus, phlebovirus, hantavirus, and tospovirus.
Baculoviruses encode a conserved sulfhydryl oxidase, P33, which is necessary for budded virus (BV) production and multinucleocapsid occlusion-derived virus (ODV) formation. Here, the structural and functional relationship of P33 was revealed by X-ray crystallography, site-directed mutagenesis, and functional analysis. Based on crystallographic characterization and structural analysis, a series of P33 mutants within three conserved regions, i.e., the active site, the dimer interface, and the R127-E183 salt bridge, were constructed. In vitro experiments showed that mutations within the active site and dimer interface severely impaired the sulfhydryl oxidase activity of P33, while the mutations in the salt bridge had a relatively minor influence. Recombinant viruses containing mutated P33 were constructed and assayed in vivo. Except for the active-site mutant AXXA, all other mutants produced infectious BVs, although certain mutants had a decreased BV production. The active-site mutant H114A, the dimer interface mutant H227D, and the salt bridge mutant R127A-E183A were further analyzed by electron microscopy and bioassays. The occlusion bodies (OBs) of mutants H114A and R127A-E183A had a ragged surface and contained mostly ODVs with a single nucleocapsid. The OBs of all three mutants contained lower numbers of ODVs and had a significantly reduced oral infectivity in comparison to control virus. Crystallographic analyses further revealed that all three regions may coordinate with one another to achieve optimal function of P33. Taken together, our data revealed that all the three conserved regions are involved in P33 activity and are crucial for virus morphogenesis and peroral infectivity.
IMPORTANCE Sulfhydryl oxidase catalyzes disulfide bond formation of substrate proteins. P33, a baculovirus-encoded sulfhydryl oxidase, is different from other cellular and viral sulfhydryl oxidases, bearing unique features in tertiary and quaternary structure organizations. In this study, we found that three conserved regions, i.e., the active site, dimer interface, and the R127-E183 salt bridge, play important roles in the enzymatic activity and function of P33. Previous observations showed that deletion of p33 results in a total loss of budded virus (BV) production and in morphological changes in occlusion-derived virus (ODV). Our study revealed that certain P33 mutants lead to occlusion bodies (OBs) with a ragged surface, decreased embedded ODVs, and reduced oral infectivity. Interestingly, some P33 mutants with impaired ODV/OB still retained BV productivity, indicating that the impacts on BV and on ODV/OB are two distinctly different functions of P33, which are likely to be performed via different substrate proteins.