The C-Terminal Region of Lymphocytic Choriomeningitis Virus Nucleoprotein Contains Distinct and Segregable Functional Domains Involved in NP-Z Interaction and Counteraction of the Type I Interferon Response

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, 601 Elmwood Avenue, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.
Journal of Virology (Impact Factor: 4.44). 12/2011; 85(24):13038-48. DOI: 10.1128/JVI.05834-11
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Several arenaviruses cause hemorrhagic fever (HF) disease in humans that is associated with high morbidity and significant mortality. Arenavirus nucleoprotein (NP), the most abundant viral protein in infected cells and virions, encapsidates the viral genome RNA, and this NP-RNA complex, together with the viral L polymerase, forms the viral ribonucleoprotein (vRNP) that directs viral RNA replication and gene transcription. Formation of infectious arenavirus progeny requires packaging of vRNPs into budding particles, a process in which arenavirus matrix-like protein (Z) plays a central role. In the present study, we have characterized the NP-Z interaction for the prototypic arenavirus lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV). The LCMV NP domain that interacted with Z overlapped with a previously documented C-terminal domain that counteracts the host type I interferon (IFN) response. However, we found that single amino acid mutations that affect the anti-IFN function of LCMV NP did not disrupt the NP-Z interaction, suggesting that within the C-terminal region of NP different amino acid residues critically contribute to these two distinct and segregable NP functions. A similar NP-Z interaction was confirmed for the HF arenavirus Lassa virus (LASV). Notably, LCMV NP interacted similarly with both LCMV Z and LASV Z, while LASV NP interacted only with LASV Z. Our results also suggest the presence of a conserved protein domain within NP but with specific amino acid residues playing key roles in determining the specificity of NP-Z interaction that may influence the viability of reassortant arenaviruses. In addition, this NP-Z interaction represents a potential target for the development of antiviral drugs to combat human-pathogenic arenaviruses.

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Available from: Emilio Ortiz-Riaño, May 19, 2014
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    Journal of Virology 04/2012; 86(15):7728-38. DOI:10.1128/JVI.00187-12 · 4.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Arenaviruses include several causative agents of hemorrhagic fever (HF) disease in humans that are associated with high morbidity and significant mortality. Morbidity and lethality associated with HF arenaviruses are believed to involve the dysregulation of the host innate immune and inflammatory responses that leads to impaired development of protective and efficient immunity. The molecular mechanisms underlying this dysregulation are not completely understood, but it is suggested that viral infection leads to disruption of early host defenses and contributes to arenavirus pathogenesis in humans. We demonstrate in the accompanying paper that the prototype member in the family, lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV), disables the host innate defense by interfering with type I interferon (IFN-I) production through inhibition of the interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF3) activation pathway and that the viral nucleoprotein (NP) alone is responsible for this inhibitory effect (C. Pythoud, W. W. Rodrigo, G. Pasqual, S. Rothenberger, L. Martínez-Sobrido, J. C. de la Torre, and S. Kunz, J. Virol. 86:7728-7738, 2012). In this report, we show that LCMV-NP, as well as NPs encoded by representative members of both Old World (OW) and New World (NW) arenaviruses, also inhibits the nuclear translocation and transcriptional activity of the nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB). Similar to the situation previously reported for IRF3, Tacaribe virus NP (TCRV-NP) does not inhibit NF-κB nuclear translocation and transcriptional activity to levels comparable to those seen with other members in the family. Altogether, our findings demonstrate that arenavirus infection inhibits NF-κB-dependent innate immune and inflammatory responses, possibly playing a key role in the pathogenesis and virulence of arenavirus.
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