Winfried Weissenhorn

University of Grenoble, Grenoble, Rhône-Alpes, France

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Publications (99)574.15 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: BackgroundOne unique feature of the foamy virus (FV) capsid protein Gag is the absence of Cys-His motifs, which in orthoretroviruses are irreplaceable for multitude functions including viral RNA genome recognition and packaging. Instead, FV Gag contains glycine-arginine-rich (GR) sequences at its C-terminus. In case of prototype FV (PFV) these are historically grouped in three boxes, which have been shown to play essential functions in genome reverse transcription, virion infectivity and particle morphogenesis. Additional functions for RNA packaging and Pol encapsidation were suggested, but have not been conclusively addressed.ResultsHere we show that released wild type PFV particles, like orthoretroviruses, contain various cellular RNAs in addition to viral genome. Unlike orthoretroviruses, the content of selected cellular RNAs in PFV capsids was not altered by viral genome encapsidation. Deletion of individual GR boxes had only minor negative effects (2 to 4-fold) on viral and cellular RNA encapsidation over a wide range of cellular Gag to viral genome ratios examined. Only the concurrent deletion of all three PFV Gag GR boxes, or the substitution of multiple arginine residues residing in the C-terminal GR box region by alanine, abolished both viral and cellular RNA encapsidation (>50 to >3,000-fold reduced), independent of the viral production system used. Consequently, those mutants also lacked detectable amounts of encapsidated Pol and were non-infectious. In contrast, particle release was reduced to a much lower extent (3 to 20-fold).ConclusionsTaken together, our data provides the first identification of a full-length PFV Gag mutant devoid in genome packaging and the first report of cellular RNA encapsidation into PFV particles. Our results suggest that the cooperative action of C-terminal clustered positively charged residues, present in all FV Gag proteins, is the main viral protein determinant for viral and cellular RNA encapsidation. The viral genome independent efficiency of cellular RNA encapsidation suggests differential packaging mechanisms for both types of RNAs. Finally, this study indicates that analogous to orthoretroviruses, Gag inverted question mark nucleic acid interactions are required for FV capsid assembly and efficient particle release.
    Retrovirology. 10/2014; 11:87.
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    ABSTRACT: The membrane proximal external region (MPER) of the HIV-1 Env glycoprotein subunit gp41 is targeted by potent broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAb) 2F5, 4E10 and 10E8. These antibodies recognize linear epitopes and have been suggested to target the fusion intermediate conformation of gp41 that bridges viral and cellular membranes. Anti-MPER antibodies exert different degrees of membrane interaction, which is considered to be the limiting factor for the generation of such antibodies by immunization. Here we characterize a fusion intermediate conformation of gp41 (gp41int-cys) and show that it folds into an elongated ~12 nm long extended structure based on small angle X-ray scattering data. Gp41int-cys was covalently linked to liposomes via its C-terminal cysteine and employed as immunogen. The gp41int-cys proteoliposomes were administered alone or in prime-boost regimen with trimeric Env gp140CA018 in guinea pigs and elicited high anti-gp41 IgG titers. The sera interacted with a peptide spanning the MPER region, demonstrated competition with bnAbs 2F5 and 4E10 and exerted modest lipid binding, indicating the presence of MPER-specific antibodies. Although the neutralization potency generated solely by gp140CA018 was higher than that induced by gp41int-cys, the majority of animals immunized with gp41int-cys proteoliposomes induced modest breadth and potency in neutralizing tier 1 pseudoviruses and replication-competent SHIVs in the TZM-bl assay as well as responses against tier 2 HIV-1 in the A3R5 neutralization assay. Our data thus demonstrate that liposomal gp41 MPER formulation can induce neutralization activity and the strategy serves to improve breadth and potency of such antibodies by improved vaccination protocols.
    The Journal of biological chemistry. 08/2014;
  • Jens Radzimanowski, Gregory Effantin, Winfried Weissenhorn
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    ABSTRACT: Filoviruses are the causative agents of a severe and often fatal hemorrhagic fever with repeated outbreaks in Africa. They are negative sense single stranded enveloped viruses that can cross species barriers from its natural host bats to primates including humans. The small size of the genome poses limits to viral adaption, which may be partially overcome by conformational plasticity. Here we review the different conformational states of the Ebola virus matrix protein VP40 that range from monomers, to dimers, hexamers and RNA-bound octamers. This conformational plasticity that is required for the viral life cycle poses a unique opportunity for development of VP40 specific drugs. Furthermore, we compare the structure to homologous matrix protein structures from Paramyxoviruses and bornaviruses and we predict that they do not only share the fold but also the conformational flexibility of Ebola virus VP40.
    Protein Science 08/2014; · 2.74 Impact Factor
  • Winfried Weissenhorn, Marie-Odile Fauvarque
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    ABSTRACT: Atg8 family proteins and Atg13 are important regulators of autophagy. In this issue of Structure, Suzuki and colleagues describe crystal structures of light chain 3 (LC3; Atg8) in complex with the Atg13 LC3 interacting region (LIR) motif and identify a subtle switch of side chain conformation regulating the LC3-LIR interaction and autophagosome formation in vivo.
    Structure 01/2014; 22(1):1-2. · 5.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Enveloped viruses acquire their membrane from the host cell and accordingly need to separate their envelope from cellular membranes via membrane fission. Although some of the enveloped viruses recruit the endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) to catalyze the final fission reaction, many enveloped viruses seem to bud in an ESCRT-independent manner. Here we describe the principles that govern membrane fission reactions in general and review progress in the understanding of ESCRT-mediated membrane fission. We relate ESCRT function to budding of single stranded RNA viruses and discuss alternative ways to mediate membrane fission that may govern ESCRT-independent budding.
    Current opinion in virology. 04/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: The membrane proximal external region (MPER) of the HIV-1 glycoprotein gp41 is targeted by the broadly neutralizing antibodies 2F5 and 4E10. To date, no immunization regimen in animals or humans has produced HIV-1 neutralizing MPER-specific antibodies. We immunized llamas with gp41-MPER proteoliposomes and selected a MPER-specific single chain antibody (VHH), 2H10, whose epitope overlaps with that of mAb 2F5. Bi-2H10, a bivalent form of 2H10, which displayed an approximately 20-fold increased affinity compared to the monovalent 2H10, neutralized various sensitive and resistant HIV-1 strains, as well as SHIV strains in TZM-bl cells. X-ray and NMR analyses combined with mutagenesis and modeling revealed that 2H10 recognizes its gp41 epitope in a helical conformation. Notably, tryptophan 100 at the tip of the long CDR3 is not required for gp41 interaction but essential for neutralization. Thus bi-2H10 is an anti-MPER antibody generated by immunization that requires hydrophobic CDR3 determinants in addition to epitope recognition for neutralization similar to the mode of neutralization employed by mAbs 2F5 and 4E10.
    PLoS Pathogens 03/2013; 9(3):e1003202. · 8.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: ϕRSL1 jumbo phage belongs to a new class of viruses within the Myoviridae family. Here, we report its three-dimensional structure determined by electron cryo microscopy. The icosahedral capsid, the tail helical portion, and the complete tail appendage were reconstructed separately to resolutions of 9 Å, 9 Å, and 28 Å, respectively. The head is rather complex and formed by at least five different proteins, whereas the major capsid proteins resemble those from HK97, despite low sequence conservation. The helical tail structure demonstrates its close relationship to T4 sheath proteins and provides evidence for an evolutionary link of the inner tail tube to the bacterial type VI secretion apparatus. Long fibers extend from the collar region, and their length is consistent with reaching the host cell surface upon tail contraction. Our structural analyses indicate that ϕRSL1 is an unusual member of the Myoviridae that employs conserved protein machines related to different phages and bacteria.
    Structure 02/2013; 21(2):298-305. · 5.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The endosomal sorting complex required for transport-III (ESCRT-III) proteins are essential for budding of some enveloped viruses, the formation of intraluminal vesicles at the endosome and for the abscission step of cytokinesis. ESCRT-III proteins form polymers that constrict membrane tubes, leading to fission. We have used electron cryomicroscopy (cryo-EM) to determine the molecular organization of pleiomorphic ESCRT-III CHMP2A-CHMP3 polymers. The three-dimensional reconstruction at 22 Å resolution reveals a helical organization of filaments of CHMP molecules organized in a head-to-tail fashion. Protease susceptibility experiments indicate that polymerization is achieved via conformational changes that increase the protomer stability. Combinatorial siRNA knockdown experiments indicate that CHMP3 contributes synergistically to HIV-1 budding, and the CHMP3 contribution is ∼10-fold more pronounced in concert with CHMP2A than with CHMP2B. This is consistent with SPR affinity measurements that suggest sequential CHMP4B-CHMP3-CHMP2A recruitment while showing that both CHMP2A and CHMP2B interact with CHMP4B, in agreement with their redundant functions in HIV-1 budding. Our data thus indicate that the CHMP2A-CHMP3 polymer observed in vitro contributes to HIV-1 budding by assembling on CHMP4B polymers.
    Cellular Microbiology 10/2012; · 4.81 Impact Factor
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    Retrovirology 09/2012; 9(2). · 5.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: HIV-1 employs its structural proteins to orchestrate assembly and budding at the plasma membrane of host cells, which depends on numerous cellular factors. Although cells evolved interferon inducible restriction factors such as tetherin that act as a first line of defense, enveloped viruses, including HIV-1, developed countermeasures in the form of tetherin antagonists such as Vpu that decrease the effect of tetherin and permits normal viral replication in vivo. Here we review recent advances in the understanding of the dynamic structural properties of tetherin that provide the basis to physically retain HIV-1 by bridging plasma and virion membranes after completion of budding.
    Current HIV research 04/2012; 10(4):298-306. · 1.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Endosomal sorting complexes required for transport (ESCRTs) regulate diverse processes ranging from receptor sorting at endosomes to distinct steps in cell division and budding of some enveloped viruses. Common to all processes is the membrane recruitment of ESCRT-III that leads to membrane fission. Here, we show that CC2D1A is a novel regulator of ESCRT-III CHMP4B function. We demonstrate that CHMP4B interacts directly with CC2D1A and CC2D1B with nanomolar affinity by forming a 1:1 complex. Deletion mapping revealed a minimal CC2D1A-CHMP4B binding construct, which includes a short linear sequence within the third DM14 domain of CC2D1A. The CC2D1A binding site on CHMP4B was mapped to the N-terminal helical hairpin. Based on a crystal structure of the CHMP4B helical hairpin, two surface patches were identified that interfere with CC2D1A interaction as determined by surface plasmon resonance. Introducing these mutations into a C-terminal truncation of CHMP4B that exerts a potent dominant negative effect on human immunodeficiency virus type 1 budding revealed that one of the mutants lost this effect completely. This suggests that the identified CC2D1A binding surface might be required for CHMP4B polymerization, which is consistent with the finding that CC2D1A binding to CHMP4B prevents CHMP4B polymerization in vitro. Thus, CC2D1A might act as a negative regulator of CHMP4B function.
    Journal of Molecular Biology 03/2012; 419(1-2):75-88. · 3.91 Impact Factor
  • Nicolas Aschman, Winfried Weissenhorn, Patricia Renesto
    Virologie 01/2012; 16(1):32-42. · 0.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The matrix protein VP40 is essential for Ebola virus (EBOV) and Marburg virus assembly and budding at the plasma membrane. In this study we have investigated the effect of single amino acid substitutions in a conserved proline-rich region of the EBOV VP40 located in the carboxy-terminal part of the protein. We demonstrate that substitutions within this region result in an alteration of intracellular VP40 localization and also cause a reduction or a complete block of virus-like particle budding, a benchmark of VP40 function. Furthermore, some mutated VP40s revealed an enhanced binding with cellular Sec24C, a part of the coat protein complex II (COPII) vesicular transport system. Analysis of the 3-dimensional structure of VP40 revealed the spatial proximity of the proline-rich region and an earlier identified site of interaction with Sec24C, thus allowing us to hypothesize that the altered intracellular localization of the VP40 mutants is a consequence of defects in their interaction with COPII-mediated vesicular transport.
    The Journal of Infectious Diseases 11/2011; 204 Suppl 3:S884-91. · 5.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: HIV-1 employs its structural proteins to orchestrate assembly and budding at the plasma membrane of host cells. The Gag polyprotein is sufficient to form virus-like particles in the absence of other viral proteins and provides a platform to interact with numerous cellular factors that regulate Gag trafficking to the site of assembly and budding. Notably endosomal sorting complexes required for transport have attained much attention over the last decade because of their essential role in virion release. Here we review recent advances in understanding the role of host cell factors recruited by Gag during HIV-1 assembly and budding.
    Future Microbiology 10/2011; 6(10):1159-70. · 4.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The endosomal sorting complexes required for transport (ESCRT-0-III) allow membrane budding and fission away from the cytosol. This machinery is used during multivesicular endosome biogenesis, cytokinesis, and budding of some enveloped viruses. Membrane fission is catalyzed by ESCRT-III complexes made of polymers of charged multivesicular body proteins (CHMPs) and by the AAA-type ATPase VPS4. How and which of the ESCRT-III subunits sustain membrane fission from the cytoplasmic surface remain uncertain. In vitro, CHMP2 and CHMP3 recombinant proteins polymerize into tubular helical structures, which were hypothesized to drive vesicle fission. However, this model awaits the demonstration that such structures exist and can deform membranes in cellulo. Here, we show that depletion of VPS4 induces specific accumulation of endogenous CHMP2B at the plasma membrane. Unlike other CHMPs, overexpressed full-length CHMP2B polymerizes into long, rigid tubes that protrude out of the cell. CHMP4s relocalize at the base of the tubes, the formation of which depends on VPS4. Cryo-EM of the CHMP2B membrane tubes demonstrates that CHMP2B polymerizes into a tightly packed helical lattice, in close association with the inner leaflet of the membrane tube. This association is tight enough to deform the lipid bilayer in cases where the tubular CHMP2B helix varies in diameter or is closed by domes. Thus, our observation that CHMP2B polymerization scaffolds membranes in vivo represents a first step toward demonstrating its structural role during outward membrane deformation.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 09/2011; 286(46):40276-86. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Endosomal sorting complexes required for transport (ESCRT) recognize ubiquitinated cargo and catalyze diverse budding processes including multivesicular body biogenesis, enveloped virus egress, and cytokinesis. We present the crystal structure of an N-terminal fragment of the deubiquitinating enzyme AMSH (AMSHΔC) in complex with the C-terminal region of ESCRT-III CHMP3 (CHMP3ΔN). AMSHΔC folds into an elongated 90 Å long helical assembly that includes an unusual MIT domain. CHMP3ΔN is unstructured in solution and helical in complex with AMSHΔC, revealing a novel MIT domain interacting motif (MIM) that does not overlap with the CHMP1-AMSH binding site. ITC and SPR measurements demonstrate an unusual high-affinity MIM-MIT interaction. Structural analysis suggests a regulatory role for the N-terminal helical segment of AMSHΔC and its destabilization leads to a loss of function during HIV-1 budding. Our results indicate a tight coupling of ESCRT-III CHMP3 and AMSH functions and provide insight into the regulation of ESCRT-III.
    Structure 08/2011; 19(8):1149-59. · 5.99 Impact Factor
  • Winfried Weissenhorn, Heinrich Göttlinger
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    ABSTRACT: HIV-1 engages the cellular ESCRT-III/VPS4 membrane scission machinery for its escape from host cells. Three papers now begin to demystify its mode of action by showing that HIV-1 requires only the transient recruitment of a surprisingly small subset of ESCRT-III components, whose membrane abscission function depends on VPS4 activity.
    Cell host & microbe 03/2011; 9(3):172-4. · 13.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The phylum Crenarchaeota lacks the FtsZ cell division hallmark of bacteria and employs instead Cdv proteins. While CdvB and CdvC are homologues of the eukaryotic ESCRT-III and Vps4 proteins, implicated in membrane fission processes during multivesicular body biogenesis, cytokinesis and budding of some enveloped viruses, little is known about the structure and function of CdvA. Here, we report the biochemical and biophysical characterization of the three Cdv proteins from the hyperthermophilic archaeon Metallospherae sedula. Using sucrose density gradient ultracentrifugation and negative staining electron microscopy, we evidenced for the first time that CdvA forms polymers in association with DNA, similar to known bacterial DNA partitioning proteins. We also observed that, in contrast to full-lengh CdvB that was purified as a monodisperse protein, the C-terminally deleted CdvB construct forms filamentous polymers, a phenomenon previously observed with eukaryotic ESCRT-III proteins. Based on size exclusion chromatography data combined with detection by multi-angle laser light scattering analysis, we demonstrated that CdvC assembles, in a nucleotide-independent way, as homopolymers resembling dodecamers and endowed with ATPase activity in vitro. The interactions between these putative cell division partners were further explored. Thus, besides confirming the previous observations that CdvB interacts with both CdvA and CdvC, our data demonstrate that CdvA/CdvB and CdvC/CdvB interactions are not mutually exclusive. Our data reinforce the concept that Cdv proteins are closely related to the eukaryotic ESCRT-III counterparts and suggest that the organization of the ESCRT-III machinery at the Crenarchaeal cell division septum is organized by CdvA an ancient cytoskeleton protein that might help to coordinate genome segregation.
    PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(7):e21921. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Endosomal sorting complexes required for transport (ESCRT) have been implicated in topologically similar but diverse cellular and pathological processes including multivesicular body (MVB) biogenesis, cytokinesis and enveloped virus budding. Although receptor sorting at the endosomal membrane producing MVBs employs the regulated assembly of ESCRT-0 followed by ESCRT-I, -II, -III and the vacuolar protein sorting (VPS)4 complex, other ESCRT-catalyzed processes require only a subset of complexes which commonly includes ESCRT-III and VPS4. Recent progress has shed light on the pathway of ESCRT assembly and highlights the separation of tasks of different ESCRT complexes and associated partners. The emerging picture suggests that among all ESCRT-catalyzed processes, divergent pathways lead to ESCRT-III assembly within the neck of a budding structure catalyzing membrane fission.
    Trends in Biochemical Sciences 10/2010; 36(4):199-210. · 13.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The restriction factor BST-2/tetherin contains two membrane anchors employed to retain some enveloped viruses, including HIV-1 tethered to the plasma membrane in the absence of virus-encoded antagonists. The 2.77 A crystal structure of the BST-2/tetherin extracellular core presented here reveals a parallel 90 A long disulfide-linked coiled-coil domain, while the complete extracellular domain forms an extended 170 A long rod-like structure based on small-angle X-ray scattering data. Mutagenesis analyses indicate that both the coiled coil and the N-terminal region are required for retention of HIV-1, suggesting that the elongated structure can function as a molecular ruler to bridge long distances. The structure reveals substantial irregularities and instabilities throughout the coiled coil, which contribute to its low stability in the absence of disulfide bonds. We propose that the irregular coiled coil provides conformational flexibility, ensuring that BST-2/tetherin anchoring both in the plasma membrane and in the newly formed virus membrane is maintained during virus budding.
    Cell host & microbe 04/2010; 7(4):314-23. · 13.02 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

5k Citations
574.15 Total Impact Points


  • 2012–2014
    • University of Grenoble
      Grenoble, Rhône-Alpes, France
  • 2007–2013
    • University Joseph Fourier - Grenoble 1
      Grenoble, Rhône-Alpes, France
    • University of Natural Resources and Life Science Vienna
      • Institute for Applied Microbiology
      Wien, Vienna, Austria
  • 2008–2012
    • Unit of Virus Host Cell Interactions
      Grenoble, Rhône-Alpes, France
  • 2010
    • University of Bristol
      • School of Biochemistry
      Bristol, ENG, United Kingdom
  • 2006
    • European Molecular Biology Laboratory
      Heidelburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 2005–2006
    • Robert Koch Institut
      Berlín, Berlin, Germany
  • 2004
    • Max Planck Society
      München, Bavaria, Germany
  • 1996–2001
    • Howard Hughes Medical Institute
      Ashburn, Virginia, United States
    • Institut für Immunologie und Genetik
      Kaiserlautern, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
    • Harvard University
      • Department of Molecular and Cell Biology
      Cambridge, MA, United States
  • 1997–1999
    • Boston Children's Hospital
      Boston, Massachusetts, United States