Structural dissection of Ebola virus and its assembly determinants using cryo-electron tomography.

Structural and Computational Biology Unit, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.81). 02/2012; 109(11):4275-80. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1120453109
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Ebola virus is a highly pathogenic filovirus causing severe hemorrhagic fever with high mortality rates. It assembles heterogenous, filamentous, enveloped virus particles containing a negative-sense, single-stranded RNA genome packaged within a helical nucleocapsid (NC). We have used cryo-electron microscopy and tomography to visualize Ebola virus particles, as well as Ebola virus-like particles, in three dimensions in a near-native state. The NC within the virion forms a left-handed helix with an inner nucleoprotein layer decorated with protruding arms composed of VP24 and VP35. A comparison with the closely related Marburg virus shows that the N-terminal region of nucleoprotein defines the inner diameter of the Ebola virus NC, whereas the RNA genome defines its length. Binding of the nucleoprotein to RNA can assemble a loosely coiled NC-like structure; the loose coil can be condensed by binding of the viral matrix protein VP40 to the C terminus of the nucleoprotein, and rigidified by binding of VP24 and VP35 to alternate copies of the nucleoprotein. Four proteins (NP, VP24, VP35, and VP40) are necessary and sufficient to mediate assembly of an NC with structure, symmetry, variability, and flexibility indistinguishable from that in Ebola virus particles released from infected cells. Together these data provide a structural and architectural description of Ebola virus and define the roles of viral proteins in its structure and assembly.

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    ABSTRACT: Ebola virus is from the Filoviridae family of viruses and is one of the most virulent pathogens known with ~60% clinical fatality. The Ebola virus negative sense RNA genome encodes seven proteins including viral matrix protein 40 (VP40), which is the most abundant protein found in the virions. Within infected cells VP40 localizes at the inner leaflet of the plasma membrane (PM), binds lipids, and regulates formation of new virus particles. Expression of VP40 in mammalian cells is sufficient to form virus like particles (VLPs) that are nearly indistinguishable from the authentic virions. However, how VP40 interacts with the PM and forms VLPs is for the most part unknown. To investigate VP40 lipid specificity in a model of viral egress we employed giant unilamellar vesicles (GUVs) with different lipid compositions. The results demonstrate VP40 selectively induces vesiculation from membranes containing phosphatidylserine (PS) at concentrations of PS that are representative of the PM inner leaflet content. The formation of intraluminal vesicles was not significantly detected in the presence of other important PM lipids including cholesterol and polyvalent phosphoinositides, further demonstrating PS selectivity. Taken together, these studies suggest that PM phosphatidylserine may be an important component of Ebola virus budding and that VP40 may be able to mediate PM scission.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2014; · 4.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ebolaviruses cause a severe hemorrhagic fever syndrome that is rapidly fatal to humans and nonhuman primates. Ebola protein interactions with host cellular proteins disrupt type I and type II interferon responses, RNAi antiviral responses, antigen presentation, T-cell-dependent B cell responses, humoral antibodies, and cell-mediated immunity. This multifaceted approach to evasion and suppression of innate and adaptive immune responses in their target hosts leads to the severe immune dysregulation and "cytokine storm" that is characteristic of fatal ebolavirus infection. Here, we highlight some of the processes by which Ebola interacts with its mammalian hosts to evade antiviral defenses.
    Cell. 10/2014; 159(3):477-486.
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    ABSTRACT: Ebolavirus (EBOV) causes severe hemorrhagic fever with a mortality rate of up to 90%. EBOV is a member of the order Mononegavirales and, like other viruses in this taxonomic group, contains a negative-sense single-stranded (ss) RNA. The EBOV ssRNA encodes seven distinct proteins. One of them, the nucleoprotein (NP), is the most abundant viral protein in the infected cell and within the viral nucleocapsid. Like other EBOV proteins, NP is multifunctional. It is tightly associated with the viral genome and is essential for viral transcription, RNA replication, genome packaging and nucleocapsid assembly prior to membrane encapsulation. NP is unusual among the Mononegavirales in that it contains two distinct regions, or putative domains, the C-terminal of which shows no homology to any known proteins and is purported to be a hub for protein–protein interactions within the nucleocapsid. The atomic structure of NP remains unknown. Here, the boundaries of the N- and C-terminal domains of NP from Zaire EBOV are defined, it is shown that they can be expressed as highly stable recombinant proteins in Escherichia coli, and the atomic structure of the C-terminal domain (residues 641–739) derived from analysis of two distinct crystal forms at 1.98 and 1.75 Å resolution is described. The structure reveals a novel tertiary fold that is distantly reminiscent of the β-grasp architecture.
    Acta Crystallographica Section D Biological Crystallography 09/2014; 70(9). · 7.23 Impact Factor

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