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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

  • The Ectodomain of the Vaccinia Virus Glycoprotein A34 Is Required for Cell Binding by Extracellular Virions and Contains a Large Region Capable of Interaction with Glycoprotein B5 [Structure and Assembly]

  • An interaction between the orthopoxvirus glycoproteins A34 and B5 has been reported. The transmembrane and ectodomain of A34 are sufficient for interaction with B5, localization of B5 to the site of intracellular wrapping, and subsequent incorporation into the envelope of released extracellular virions. Several mutagenic approaches were undertaken to better define the B5 interaction domain on A34. A set of C-terminal truncations in A34 identified residues 1 to 80 as sufficient for interaction with B5. Additional truncations identified residues 80 to 130 of A34 as sufficient for interaction with B5. To better understand the function of this region, a set of recombinant viruses expressing A34 with the full, partial, or no B5 interaction site (residues 1 to 130, 1 to 100, and 1 to 70, respectively) was constructed. All the recombinants expressing truncations of A34 incorporated B5 into extracellular virions but had a small-plaque phenotype similar to that of a virus with the A34R gene deleted (vA34R). Further characterization indicated that the small-plaque phenotype exhibited by these viruses is due to a combination of abrogated actin tail formation, reduced cell binding, and a defect in polyanion-induced nonfusogenic dissolution. Taken together, these results suggest that residues 80 to 130 of A34 are not necessary for the proper localization and incorporation of B5 into extracellular virions and, furthermore, that the C-terminal residues of A34 are involved in cell binding and dissolution.

    IMPORTANCE Previous studies have shown that the vaccinia virus glycoproteins A34 and B5 interact, and in the absence of A34, B5 is mislocalized and not incorporated into extracellular virions. Here, using a transient-transfection assay, residues 80 to 130 of the ectodomain of A34 were determined to be sufficient for interaction with B5. Recombinant viruses expressing A34 with a full, partial, or no B5 interaction site were constructed and characterized. All of the A34 truncations interacted with B5 as predicted by the transient-transfection studies but had a small-plaque phenotype. Further analysis revealed that all of the recombinants incorporated detectable levels of B5 into released virions but were defective in cell binding and extracellular virion (EV) dissolution. This study is the first to directly demonstrate that A34 is involved in cell binding and implicate the ectodomain in this role.

  • Packaging of the Influenza Virus Genome Is Governed by a Plastic Network of RNA- and Nucleoprotein-Mediated Interactions [Structure and Assembly]

  • The genome of influenza A virus is organized into eight ribonucleoproteins, each composed of a distinct RNA segment bound by the viral polymerase and oligomeric viral nucleoprotein. Packaging sequences unique to each RNA segment together with specific nucleoprotein amino acids are thought to ensure the precise incorporation of these eight ribonucleoproteins into single virus particles, and yet the underlying interaction network remains largely unexplored. We show here that the genome packaging mechanism of an H7N7 subtype influenza A virus widely tolerates the mutation of individual packaging sequences in three different RNA segments. However, combinations of these modified RNA segments cause distinct genome packaging defects, marked by the absence of specific RNA segment subsets from the viral particles. Furthermore, we find that combining a single mutated packaging sequence with sets of specific nucleoprotein amino acid substitutions greatly impairs the viral genome packaging process. Along with previous reports, our data propose that influenza A virus uses a redundant and plastic network of RNA-RNA and potentially RNA-nucleoprotein interactions to coordinately incorporate its segmented genome into virions.

    IMPORTANCE The genome of influenza A virus is organized into eight viral ribonucleoproteins (vRNPs); this provides evolutionary advantages but complicates genome packaging. Although it has been shown that RNA packaging sequences and specific amino acids in the viral nucleoprotein (NP), both components of each vRNP, ensure selective packaging of one copy of each vRNP per virus particle, the required RNA-RNA and RNA-NP interactions remain largely elusive. We identified that the genome packaging mechanism tolerates the mutation of certain individual RNA packaging sequences, while their combined mutation provokes distinct genome packaging defects. Moreover, we found that seven specific amino acid substitutions in NP impair the function of RNA packaging sequences and that this defect is partially restored by another NP amino acid change. Collectively, our data indicate that packaging of the influenza A virus genome is controlled by a redundant and plastic network of RNA/protein interactions, which may facilitate natural reassortment processes.

  • The Alphavirus E2 Membrane-Proximal Domain Impacts Capsid Interaction and Glycoprotein Lattice Formation [Structure and Assembly]

  • Alphaviruses are small enveloped RNA viruses that bud from the host cell plasma membrane. Alphavirus particles have a highly organized structure, with a nucleocapsid core containing the RNA genome surrounded by the capsid protein, and a viral envelope containing 80 spikes, each a trimer of heterodimers of the E1 and E2 glycoproteins. The capsid protein and envelope proteins are both arranged in organized lattices that are linked via the interaction of the E2 cytoplasmic tail/endodomain with the capsid protein. We previously characterized the role of two highly conserved histidine residues, H348 and H352, located in an external, juxtamembrane region of the E2 protein termed the D-loop. Alanine substitutions of H348 and H352 inhibit virus growth by impairing late steps in the assembly/budding of virus particles at the plasma membrane. To investigate this budding defect, we selected for revertants of the E2-H348/352A double mutant. We identified eleven second-site revertants with improved virus growth and mutations in the capsid, E2 and E1 proteins. Multiple isolates contained the mutation E2-T402K in the E2 endodomain or E1-T317I in the E1 ectodomain. Both of these mutations were shown to partially restore H348/352A growth and virus assembly/budding, while neither rescued the decreased thermostability of H348/352A. Within the alphavirus particle, these mutations are positioned to affect the E2-capsid interaction or the E1-mediated intertrimer interactions at the 5-fold axis of symmetry. Together, our results support a model in which the E2 D-loop promotes the formation of the glycoprotein lattice and its interactions with the internal capsid protein lattice.

    IMPORTANCE Alphaviruses include important human pathogens such as Chikungunya and the encephalitic alphaviruses. There are currently no licensed alphavirus vaccines or effective antiviral therapies, and more molecular information on virus particle structure and function is needed. Here, we highlight the important role of the E2 juxtamembrane D-loop in mediating virus budding and particle production. Our results demonstrated that this E2 region affects both the formation of the external glycoprotein lattice and its interactions with the internal capsid protein shell.