[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chikungunya fever is a pandemic disease caused by the mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus (CHIKV). E1 glycoprotein mediation of viral membrane fusion during CHIKV infection is a crucial step in the release of viral genome into the host cytoplasm for replication. How the E1 structure determines membrane fusion and whether other CHIKV structural proteins participate in E1 fusion activity remain largely unexplored.
A bicistronic baculovirus expression system to produce recombinant baculoviruses for cell-based assay was used. Sf21 insect cells infected by recombinant baculoviruses bearing wild type or single-amino-acid substitution of CHIKV E1 and EGFP (enhanced green fluorescence protein) were employed to investigate the roles of four E1 amino acid residues (G91, V178, A226, and H230) in membrane fusion activity.
Western blot analysis revealed that the E1 expression level and surface features in wild type and mutant substituted cells were similar. However, cell fusion assay found that those cells infected by CHIKV E1-H230A mutant baculovirus showed little fusion activity, and those bearing CHIKV E1-G91D mutant completely lost the ability to induce cell-cell fusion. Cells infected by recombinant baculoviruses of CHIKV E1-A226V and E1-V178A mutants exhibited the same membrane fusion capability as wild type. Although the E1 expression level of cells bearing monomeric-E1-based constructs (expressing E1 only) was greater than that of cells bearing 26S-based constructs (expressing all structural proteins), the sizes of syncytial cells induced by infection of baculoviruses containing 26S-based constructs were larger than those from infections having monomeric-E1 constructs, suggesting that other viral structure proteins participate or regulate E1 fusion activity. Furthermore, membrane fusion in cells infected by baculovirus bearing the A226V mutation constructs exhibited increased cholesterol-dependences and lower pH thresholds. Cells bearing the V178A mutation exhibited a slight decrease in cholesterol-dependence and a higher-pH threshold for fusion.
Cells expressing amino acid substitutions of conserved protein E1 residues of E1-G91 and E1-H230 lost most of the CHIKV E1-mediated membrane fusion activity. Cells expressing mutations of less-conserved amino acids, E1-V178A and E1-A226V, retained membrane fusion activity to levels similar to those expressing wild type E1, but their fusion properties of pH threshold and cholesterol dependence were slightly altered.
Journal of Biomedical Science 04/2012; 19:44. · 2.46 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chikungunya virus infection has emerged in many countries over the past decade. There are no effective drugs for controlling the disease. To develop cell-based system for screening anti-virus drugs, a bi-cistronic baculovirus expression system was utilized to co-express viral structural proteins C (capsid), E2 and E1 and the enhanced green fluorescence protein (EGFP) in Spodoptera frugiperda insect cells (Sf21). The EGFP-positive Sf21 cells fused with each other and with uninfected cells to form a syncytium, allowing characterization of cholesterol and low pH requirements for syncytium formation. Western blot analysis showed three structural proteins were expressed in baculovirus infected cells. The structural proteins of Chikungunya virus that is required for cell fusion was determined with various recombinant baculoviruses bearing different lengths of the viral structural protein genes. Protein E1 was required for cell fusion and indicating that Chikungunya viral membrane fusion was a class II membrane fusion. It was also demonstrated that the heterologous expression of alphavirus monomeric E1 can induce insect cell fusions. Furthermore, this cell-based system provides a model for studying class II viral membrane fusion.
Journal of virological methods 08/2011; 175(2):206-15. · 2.13 Impact Factor