Article

Activation of the Nipah virus fusion protein in MDCK cells is mediated by cathepsin B within the endosome-recycling compartment.

Faculty of Chemistry, University of Bielefeld, Bielefeld, Germany.
Journal of Virology (Impact Factor: 4.65). 01/2012; 86(7):3736-45. DOI: 10.1128/JVI.06628-11
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Proteolytic activation of the fusion protein of the highly pathogenic Nipah virus (NiV F) is a prerequisite for the production of infectious particles and for virus spread via cell-to-cell fusion. Unlike other paramyxoviral fusion proteins, functional NiV F activation requires endocytosis and pH-dependent cleavage at a monobasic cleavage site by endosomal proteases. Using prototype Vero cells, cathepsin L was previously identified to be a cleavage enzyme. Compared to Vero cells, MDCK cells showed substantially higher F cleavage rates in both NiV-infected and NiV F-transfected cells. Surprisingly, this could not be explained either by an increased F endocytosis rate or by elevated cathepsin L activities. On the contrary, MDCK cells did not display any detectable cathepsin L activity. Though we could confirm cathepsin L to be responsible for F activation in Vero cells, inhibitor studies revealed that in MDCK cells, cathepsin B was required for F-protein cleavage and productive replication of pathogenic NiV. Supporting the idea of an efficient F cleavage in early and recycling endosomes of MDCK cells, endocytosed F proteins and cathepsin B colocalized markedly with the endosomal marker proteins early endosomal antigen 1 (EEA-1), Rab4, and Rab11, while NiV F trafficking through late endosomal compartments was not needed for F activation. In summary, this study shows for the first time that endosomal cathepsin B can play a functional role in the activation of highly pathogenic NiV.

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