Article

The infectivity of prM-containing partially mature West Nile virus does not require the activity of cellular furin-like proteases.

Viral Pathogenesis Section, Laboratory of Viral Diseases, National Institutes of Health, 33 North Drive, Building 33, Room 2E19A.2, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
Journal of Virology (Impact Factor: 4.65). 08/2011; 85(22):12067-72. DOI: 10.1128/JVI.05559-11
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Cleavage of the flavivirus prM protein by a cellular furin-like protease is a hallmark of virion maturation. While this cleavage is a required step in the viral life cycle, it can be inefficient. Virions that retain uncleaved prM may be infectious. We investigated whether cleavage by furin of prM on partially mature West Nile virus (WNV) during virus entry contributes to infectivity. Using quantitative assays of WNV infection, we found that virions incorporating considerable amounts of uncleaved prM protein were insensitive to treatment of cells with a potent inhibitor of furin activity. Thus, partially mature WNV does not require furin-like proteases for infectivity.

Download full-text

Full-text

Available from: Swati Mukherjee, Dec 21, 2013
0 Followers
 · 
93 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Flaviviruses are small enveloped virions that enter target cells in a pH-dependent fashion. Virus attachment, entry, and membrane fusion are orchestrated by the envelope (E) and pre-membrane (prM) proteins, the two structural proteins displayed on the surface of virions. Flaviviruses assemble as an immature non-infectious form onto which prM and E form trimeric spikes. During egress from infected cells, flaviviruses undergo dramatic structural changes characterized by the formation of a herringbone arrangement of E proteins that lie flat against the surface of the virion and cleavage of the prM protein by the cellular protease furin. The result is a relatively smooth, infectious mature virion. This dynamic process is now understood in structural detail at the atomic level. However, recent studies indicate that many of the virions released from cells share structural features of both immature and mature virus particles. These mosaic partially mature virions are infectious and interact uniquely with target cells and the host immune response. Here, we will discuss recent advances in our understanding of the biology and significance of partially mature flaviviruses.
    03/2012; 2(2):168-75. DOI:10.1016/j.coviro.2012.02.011
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The pre-membrane protein (prM) of West Nile virus (WNV) functions as a chaperone for correct folding of the envelope (E) protein, and prevents premature fusion during virus egress. However, little is known about its role in virulence. To investigate this, we compared the amino acid sequences of prM between a highly virulent North American strain (WNV(NY99)) and a weakly virulent Australian subtype (WNV(KUN)). Five amino acid differences occur in WNV(NY99) compared with WNV(KUN) (I22V, H43Y, L72S, S105A and A156V). When expressed in mammalian cells, recombinant WNV(NY99) prM retained native antigenic structure, and was partially exported to the cell surface. In contrast, WNV(KUN) prM (in the absence of the E protein) failed to express a conserved conformational epitope and was mostly retained at the pre-Golgi stage. Substitutions in residues 22 (Ile to Val) and 72 (Leu to Ser) restored the antigenic structure and cell surface expression of WNV(KUN) prM to the same level as that of WNV(NY99), and enhanced the secretion of WNV(KUN) prME particles when expressed in the presence of E. Introduction of the prM substitutions into a WNV(KUN) infectious clone (FLSDX) enhanced the secretion of infectious particles in Vero cells, and enhanced virulence in mice. These findings highlight the role of prM in viral particle secretion and virulence, and suggest the involvement of the L72S and I22V substitutions in modulating these activities.
    Journal of General Virology 07/2012; 93(Pt 9):1965-75. DOI:10.1099/vir.0.044453-0
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: West Nile virus (WNV) is a worldwide distributed mosquito-borne flavivirus that naturally cycles between birds and mosquitoes, although it can infect multiple vertebrate hosts including horses and humans. This virus is responsible for recurrent epidemics of febrile illness and encephalitis, and has recently become a global concern. WNV requires to transit through intracellular acidic compartments at two different steps to complete its infectious cycle. These include fusion between the viral envelope and the membrane of endosomes during viral entry, and virus maturation in the trans-Golgi network. In this study, we followed a genetic approach to study the connections between viral components and acidic pH. A WNV mutant with increased resistance to the acidotropic compound NH4Cl, which blocks organelle acidification and inhibits WNV infection, was selected. Nucleotide sequencing revealed that this mutant displayed a single amino acid substitution (Lys 3 to Glu) on the highly basic internal capsid or core (C) protein. The functional role of this replacement was confirmed by its introduction into a WNV infectious clone. This single amino acid substitution also increased resistance to other acidification inhibitor (concanamycin A) and induced a reduction of the neurovirulence in mice. Interestingly, a naturally occurring accompanying mutation found on prM protein abolished the resistant phenotype, supporting the idea of a genetic crosstalk between the internal C protein and the external glycoproteins of the virion. The findings here reported unveil a non-previously assessed connection between the C viral protein and the acidic pH necessary for entry and proper exit of flaviviruses.
    PLoS ONE 07/2013; 8(7):e69479. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0069479