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How Do Viruses Interact with Stress-Associated RNA Granules?

Department of Molecular Virology and Microbiology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA.
PLoS Pathogens (Impact Factor: 8.06). 06/2012; 8(6):e1002741. DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1002741
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    ABSTRACT: In recent years, important linkages have been made between RNA granules and human disease processes. On June 8-10 of this year, we hosted a new symposium, dubbed the 1st International Symposium on Stress-Associated RNA Granules in Human Disease and Viral Infection. This symposium brought together experts from diverse research disciplines ranging from cancer and neuroscience to infectious disease. This report summarizes speaker presentations and highlights current challenges in the field.
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    ABSTRACT: Background Stress granules (SGs) are granular aggregates in the cytoplasm that are formed under a variety of stress situations including viral infection. Previous studies indicate that poliovirus, a member of Picornaviridae, can induce SG formation. However, the exact mechanism by which the picornaviruses induce SG formation is unknown.Method The localization of SG markers in cells infected with coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) or enterovirus 71 (EV71) and in cells expressing each viral protein was determined via immunofluorescence assays or plasmid transfection. Eight plasmids expressing mutants of the 2A protease (2Apro) of CVB3 were generated using a site-directed mutagenesis strategy. The cleavage efficiencies of eIF4G by CVB3 2Apro, and its mutants were determined via western blotting assays.ResultsIn this study, we found that CVB3 infection induced SG formation, as evidenced by the co-localization of some accepted SG markers in viral infection-induced granules. Furthermore, we identified that 2Apro of CVB3 was the key viral component that triggered SG formation. A 2Apro mutant with the G122E mutation, which exhibited very low cleavage efficiency toward eIF4G, significantly attenuated its capacity for SG induction, indicating that the protease activity was required for 2Apro to initiate SG formation. Finally, we observed that SGs also formed in EV71-infected cells. Expression of EV71 2Apro alone was also sufficient to cause SG formation.Conclusion Both CVB3 and EV71 infections can induce SG formation, and 2Apro plays a crucial role in the induction of SG formation during these infections. This finding may help us to better understand how picornaviruses initiate the SG response.
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