[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Viruses sense environmental cues such as pH to engage in membrane interactions for cell entry during infection, but how nonenveloped viruses sense pH is largely undefined. Here, we report both high- and low-pH structures of bluetongue virus (BTV), which enters cells via a two-stage endosomal process. The receptor-binding protein VP2 possesses a zinc finger that may function to maintain VP2 in a metastable state and a conserved His866, which senses early-endosomal pH. The membrane-penetration protein VP5 has three domains: dagger, unfurling and anchoring. Notably, the β-meander motif of the anchoring domain contains a histidine cluster that can sense late-endosomal pH and also possesses four putative membrane-interaction elements. Exposing BTV to low pH detaches VP2 and dramatically refolds the dagger and unfurling domains of VP5. Our biochemical and structure-guided-mutagenesis studies support these coordinated pH-sensing mechanisms.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bluetongue virus (BTV), a non-enveloped arbovirus, causes hemorrhagic disease in ruminants. However, the influence of natural host cell proteins on BTV replication process is not defined. In addition to cell lysis, BTV also exits non-ovine cultured cells by non-lytic pathways mediated by nonstructural protein NS3 that interacts with virus capsid and cellular proteins belonging to calpactin and ESCRT family. The PPXY late domain motif known to recruit NEDD4 family of HECT ubiquitin E3 ligases is also highly conserved in NS3. In this study using a mixture of molecular, biochemical and microscopic techniques we have analyzed the importance of ovine cellular proteins and vesicles in BTV infection. Electron microscopic analysis of BTV infected ovine cells demonstrated close association of mature particles with intracellular vesicles. Inhibition of Multi Vesicular Body (MVB) resident lipid phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate resulted in decreased total virus titre suggesting that the vesicles might be MVBs. Proteasome mediated inhibition of ubiquitin or modification of virus lacking the PPXY in NS3 reduced virus growth. Thus, our study demonstrated that cellular components comprising of MVB and exocytic pathways proteins are involved in BTV replication in ovine cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bluetongue (BT) disease, caused by the non-enveloped Bluetongue virus (BTV) belonging to the Reoviridae family, is an economically important disease that affects a wide range of wild and domestic ruminants. Currently, 26 different serotypes of BTV are recognized in the world, of which BTV-8 has been found to exhibit one of the most virulent manifestations of BT disease in livestock. In recent years incursions of BTV-8 in Europe have resulted in significant morbidity and mortality not only in sheep but also in cattle. The molecular and genetic basis of BTV-8 pathogenesis is not known. To understand the genetic basis of BTV-8 pathogenicity we generated reassortant viruses by replacing the 3 most variable genes, S2, S6 and S10 of a recent isolate of BTV-8, in different combinations into the backbone of an attenuated strain of BTV-1. The growth profiles of these reassortant viruses were then analyzed in two different ovine cell lines derived from different organs, kidney and thymus. Distinct patterns for each reassortant virus in these two cell lines were observed. To determine the pathogenicity of these reassortant viruses, groups of BTV-susceptible sheep were infected with each of these viruses. The data suggested that the clinical manifestations of these two different serotypes, BTV-1 and BTV-8, were slightly distinct and BTV-1, when comprising all 3 genome segments of BTV-8, behaved differently to BTV-1. Our results also suggested that the molecular basis of BT disease is highly complex.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The mechanism used by Bluetongue Virus (BTV) to ensure the sorting and packaging of its 10 genomic segments is still poorly understood. In this study, we have investigated the packaging constraints for two BTV genomic segments from two different serotypes. Segment 4 (S4) of BTV serotype 9 was sequentially mutated; and packaging of mutant ssRNAs was investigated by two newly developed RNA packaging assay systems, one in vivo and the other in vitro. Modelling of the mutated ssRNA suggested that a conformational motif formed by interaction of the 5' and the 3'ends of the molecule is necessary and sufficient for packaging. A similar structural signal was also identified in segment 8 (S8) of serotype 1. Furthermore, the same conformational analysis of secondary structures for positive-sense ssRNAs was used to generate a chimeric segment that maintained the putative packaging motif but contained unrelated internal sequences. This chimeric segment was successfully packaged, confirming that the motif identified directs the correct packaging of the segment.
Preview · Article · Jun 2014 · Journal of General Virology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: African horse sickness virus (AHSV) is an insect-vectored emerging pathogen of equine species. AHSV (9 serotypes) is an Orbivirus, with a morphology and coding strategy similar to that of the type member, Bluetongue virus (BTV). However, these viruses are distinct at genetic level, in the proteins they encode and in their pathobiology. AHSV infection of horses is highly virulent with a mortality rate of up to 90%. AHSV is transmitted by Culicoides, a common European insect, and has the potential to emerge in Europe from endemic countries of Africa. As a result, a safe and effective vaccine is urgently sought. As part of a program to generate a designed highly attenuated vaccine, we report here the recovery of AHSV from a complete set of RNA transcripts synthesized in vitro from cDNA clones. We demonstrate the generation of mutant and reassortant AHSV genomes, their recovery, stable passage and characterization. Our data provide a new tool to investigate the AHSV replication, designing of ASHV vaccines and diagnosis.
Preview · Article · Jul 2013 · Journal of General Virology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rotaviruses are the single most common cause of fatal and severe childhood diarrheal illness worldwide (>125 million cases annually). Rotavirus shares structural and functional features with many viruses, such as the presence of segmented double-stranded RNA genomes selectively and tightly packed with a conserved number of transcription complexes in icosahedral capsids. Nascent transcripts exit the capsid through 12 channels, but it is unknown whether these channels specialize in specific transcripts or simply act as general exit conduits; a detailed description of this process is needed for understanding viral replication and genomic organization. To this end, we developed a single molecule assay for capturing and identifying transcripts extruded from transcriptionally active viral particles. Our findings support a model in which each channel specializes in extruding transcripts of a specific segment that in turn is linked to a single transcription complex. Our approach can be extended to study other viruses and transcription systems.
Preview · Article · Jul 2013 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bluetongue virus (BTV) is a double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) virus of the Reoviridae family, which encodes its genes in ten linear dsRNA segments. BTV mRNAs are synthesised by the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) as exact plus sense copies of the genome segments. Infection of mammalian cells with BTV rapidly replaces cellular protein synthesis with viral protein synthesis, but the regulation of viral gene expression in the Orbivirus genus has not been investigated.
Using an mRNA reporter system based on genome segment 10 of BTV fused with GFP we identify the protein characteristic of this genus, non-structural protein 1 (NS1) as sufficient to upregulate translation. The wider applicability of this phenomenon among the viral genes is demonstrated using the untranslated regions (UTRs) of BTV genome segments flanking the quantifiable Renilla luciferase ORF in chimeric mRNAs. The UTRs of viral mRNAs are shown to be determinants of the amount of protein synthesised, with the pre-expression of NS1 increasing the quantity in each case. The increased expression induced by pre-expression of NS1 is confirmed in virus infected cells by generating a replicating virus which expresses the reporter fused with genome segment 10, using reverse genetics. Moreover, NS1-mediated upregulation of expression is restricted to mRNAs which lack the cellular 3' poly(A) sequence identifying the 3' end as a necessary determinant in specifically increasing the translation of viral mRNA in the presence of cellular mRNA.
NS1 is identified as a positive regulator of viral protein synthesis. We propose a model of translational regulation where NS1 upregulates the synthesis of viral proteins, including itself, and creates a positive feedback loop of NS1 expression, which rapidly increases the expression of all the viral proteins. The efficient translation of viral reporter mRNAs among cellular mRNAs can account for the observed replacement of cellular protein synthesis with viral protein synthesis during infection.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The reverse genetics technology for bluetongue virus (BTV) has been used in combination with complementing cell lines to recover defective BTV-1 mutants. To generate a potential disabled infectious single cycle (DISC) vaccine strain, we used a reverse genetics system to rescue defective virus strains with large deletions in an essential BTV gene that encodes the VP6 protein (segment S9) of the internal core. Four VP6-deficient BTV-1 mutants were generated by using a complementing cell line that provided the VP6 protein in trans. Characterization of the growth properties of mutant viruses showed that each mutant has the necessary characteristics for a potential vaccine strain: (i) viral protein expression in noncomplementing mammalian cells, (ii) no infectious virus generated in noncomplementing cells, and (iii) efficient replication in the complementing VP6 cell line. Further, a defective BTV-8 strain was made by reassorting the two RNA segments that encode the two outer capsid proteins (VP2 and VP5) of a highly pathogenic BTV-8 with the remaining eight RNA segments of one of the BTV-1 DISC viruses. The protective capabilities of BTV-1 and BTV-8 DISC viruses were assessed in sheep by challenge with specific virulent strains using several assay systems. The data obtained from these studies demonstrated that the DISC viruses are highly protective and could offer a promising alternative to the currently available attenuated and killed virus vaccines and are also compliant as DIVA (differentiating infected from vaccinated animals) vaccines.
Full-text · Article · Jul 2011 · Journal of Virology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bluetongue virus (BTV), a member of the Reoviridae family, is an insect-borne animal pathogen. Virus release from infected cells is predominantly by cell lysis, but some BTV particles are also released from the plasma membrane. The nonstructural protein NS3 has been implicated in this process. Using alternate initiator methionine residues, NS3 is expressed as a full-length protein and as a truncated variant that lacks the initial 13 residues, which, by yeast-two hybrid analyses, have been shown to interact with a cellular trafficking protein S100A10/p11. To understand the physiological significance of this interaction in virus-infected cells, we have used reverse genetics to investigate the roles of NS3 and NS3A in virus replication and localization in both mammalian and insect vector-derived cells. A virus expressing NS3 but not NS3A was able to propagate in and release from mammalian cells efficiently. However, growth of a mutant virus expressing only NS3A was severely attenuated, although protein expression, replication, double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) synthesis, and particle assembly in the cytoplasm were observed. Two of three single-amino-acid substitutions in the N-terminal 13 residues of NS3 showed phenotypically similar effects. Pulldown assay and confocal microscopy demonstrated a lack of interaction between NS3 and S100A10/p11 in mutants with poor replication. The role of NS3/NS3A was also assessed in insect cells where virus grew, albeit with a reduced titer. Notably, however, while wild-type particles were found within cytoplasmic vesicles in insect cells, mutant viruses were scattered throughout the cytoplasm and not confined to vesicles. These results provide support for a role for the extreme amino terminus of NS3 in the late stages of virus growth in mammalian cells, plausibly in egress. However, both NS3 and NS3A were required for efficient BTV growth in insect cells.
Preview · Article · Mar 2011 · Journal of Virology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: African horse sickness virus (AHSV), a member of the orbivirus genus of the family Reoviridae, is an insect-vectored pathogen of horses of concern to the equine industry. Studies on AHSV replication and pathogenesis have been hampered by the lack of reverse genetics allowing targeted mutation of viral genomes. We demonstrate that AHSV single-stranded RNA synthesized in vitro (core transcripts) is infectious and that there are distinct primary and secondary stages of the replication cycle. Transfection with a mixture of core transcripts from two different serotypes or a mixture of core transcripts and a T7 derived transcript resulted in the recovery of reassortant viruses. Recovery of infectious ASHV from nucleic acid will benefit investigation of the virus and the generation of attenuated vaccines.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many cellular multi-protein complexes are naturally present in cells at low abundance. Baculovirus expression offers one approach to produce milligram quantities of correctly folded and processed eukaryotic protein complexes. However, current strategies suffer from the need to produce large transfer vectors, and the use of repeated promoter sequences in baculovirus, which itself produces proteins that promote homologous recombination. One possible solution to these problems is to construct baculovirus genomes that express each protein in a complex from a separate locus within the viral DNA. However current methods for selecting such recombinant genomes are too inefficient to routinely modify the virus in this way.
This paper reports a method which combines the lambda red and bacteriophage P1 Cre-recombinase systems to efficiently generate baculoviruses in which protein complexes are expressed from multiple, single-locus insertions of foreign genes. This method is based on an 88 fold improvement in the selection of recombinant viruses generated by red recombination techniques through use of a bipartite selection cassette. Using this system, seven new genetic loci were identified in the AcMNPV genome suitable for the high level expression of recombinant proteins. These loci were used to allow the recovery two recombinant virus-like particles with potential biotechnological applications (influenza A virus HA/M1 particles and bluetongue virus VP2/VP3/VP5/VP7 particles) and the mammalian chaperone and cancer drug target CCT (16 subunits formed from 8 proteins).
1. Use of bipartite selections can significantly improve selection of modified bacterial artificial chromosomes carrying baculovirus DNA. Furthermore this approach is sufficiently robust to allow routine modification of the virus genome. 2. In addition to the commonly used p10 and polyhedrin loci, the ctx, egt, 39k, orf51, gp37, iap2 and odv-e56 loci in AcMNPV are all suitable for the high level expression of heterologous genes. 3. Two protein, four protein and eight protein complexes including virus-like particles and cellular chaperone complexes can be produced using the new approach.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2009 · BMC Molecular Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bluetongue virus (BTV), a nonenveloped insect-borne virus, is released from infected cells by multiple pathways. Unlike other nonenveloped viruses, in addition to cell lysis the newly synthesized virus particles also appear to use a unique "budding" process. The nonstructural protein NS3, the only membrane protein encoded by BTV in infected cells, has been implicated in this process, since it appears to interact not only with the outermost viral capsid protein VP2 but also with a component of the cellular ESCRT pathway. However, to date it had not been possible to obtain direct evidence for the involvement of NS3 in BTV morphogenesis due to the lack of a genetic system that would allow introducing the targeted mutation in NS3 gene. In this study, we have used the recently developed T7 transcript-based reverse genetics system for BTV to introduce mutations in the sequence of NS3 into the viral genome and have investigated the effect of these mutations in the context of a replicating virus. While certain NS3 mutations exhibited drastic effects on newly synthesized virus release, others had less pronounced effects. In particular, mutations of two residues in the Tsg101 binding motif, the putative L domain of NS3, altered normal virus egress patterns and left nascent particles tethered to the cellular membrane, apparently arrested in the process of budding. In cells infected with a mutant virus that was incapable of an NS3-VP2 interaction, no budding particles were visualized. These data suggest that NS3 may act like the membrane protein of enveloped viruses and is responsible for intracellular trafficking and budding of virus particles. NS3 is thus a bridge between the maturing virion particles and cellular proteins during virus egress.
Preview · Article · May 2009 · Journal of Virology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Studies on Rift Valley Fever Virus (RVFV) infection process and morphogenesis have been hampered due to the biosafety conditions required to handle this virus, making alternative systems such as recombinant virus-like particles, that may facilitate understanding of these processes are highly desirable. In this report we present the expression and characterization of RVFV structural proteins N, Gn and Gc and demonstrate the efficient generation of RVFV virus-like particles (VLPs) using a baculovirus expression system.
A recombinant baculovirus, expressing nucleocapsid (N) protein of RVFV at high level under the control of the polyhedrin promoter was generated. Gel filtration analysis indicated that expressed N protein could form complex multimers. Further, N protein complex when visualized by electron microscopy (EM) exhibited particulate, nucleocapsid like-particles (NLPs). Subsequently, a single recombinant virus was generated that expressed the RVFV glycoproteins (Gn/Gc) together with the N protein using a dual baculovirus vector. Both the Gn and Gc glycoproteins were detected not only in the cytoplasm but also on the cell surface of infected cells. Moreover, expression of the Gn/Gc in insect cells was able to induce cell-cell fusion after a low pH shift indicating the retention of their functional characteristics. In addition, assembly of these three structural proteins into VLPs was identified by purification of cells' supernatant through potassium tartrate-glycerol gradient centrifugation followed by EM analysis. The purified particles exhibited enveloped structures that were similar to the structures of the wild-type RVFV virion particle. In parallel, a second recombinant virus was constructed that expressed only Gc protein together with N protein. This dual recombinant virus also generated VLPs with clear spiky structures, but appeared to be more pleomorphic than the VLPs with both glycoproteins, suggesting that Gc and probably also Gn interacts with N protein complex independent of each other.
Our results suggest that baculovirus expression system has enormous potential to produce large amount of VLPs that may be used both for fundamental and applied research of RVFV.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bluetongue virus (BTV), an insect-vectored emerging pathogen of both wild ruminants and livestock, has had a severe economic impact in agriculture in many parts of the world. The investigation of BTV replication and pathogenesis has been hampered by the lack of a reverse genetics system. Recovery of infectious BTV is possible by the transfection of permissive cells with the complete set of 10 purified viral mRNAs derived in vitro from transcribing cores (M. Boyce and P. Roy, J. Virol. 81:2179-2186, 2007). Here, we report that in vitro synthesized T7 transcripts, derived from cDNA clones, can be introduced into the genome of BTV using a mixture of T7 transcripts and core-derived mRNAs. The replacement of genome segment 10 and the simultaneous replacement of segments 2 and 5 encoding the two immunologically important outer capsid proteins, VP2 and VP5, are described. Further, we demonstrate the recovery of infectious BTV entirely from T7 transcripts, proving that synthetic transcripts synthesized in the presence of cap analogue can functionally substitute for viral transcripts at all stages of the BTV replication cycle. The generation of BTV with a fully defined genome permits the recovery of mutations in a defined genetic background. The ability to generate specific mutants provides a new tool to investigate the BTV replication cycle as well as permitting the generation of designer vaccine strains, which are greatly needed in many countries.
Preview · Article · Jul 2008 · Journal of Virology