- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genome replication and virion production by most negative-sense RNA viruses (NSVs) occurs exclusively in the cytoplasm, but many NSV-expressed proteins undergo active nucleocytoplasmic trafficking via signals that exploit cellular nuclear transport pathways. Nuclear trafficking has been reported both for NSV accessory proteins (including isoforms of the rabies virus phosphoprotein, and V, W and C proteins of paramyxoviruses) and for structural proteins. Trafficking of the former is thought to enable accessory functions in viral modulation of antiviral responses including the type I IFN system, but the intranuclear roles of structural proteins such as nucleocapsid and matrix proteins, which have critical roles in extranuclear replication and viral assembly, are less clear. Nevertheless, nuclear trafficking of matrix protein has been reported to be critical for efficient production of Nipah virus and Respiratory syncytial virus, and nuclear localisation of nucleocapsid protein of several morbilliviruses has been linked to mechanisms of immune evasion. Together, these data point to the nucleus as a significant host interface for viral proteins during infection by NSVs with otherwise cytoplasmic life cycles. Importantly, several lines of evidence now suggest that nuclear trafficking of these proteins may be critical to pathogenesis and so could provide new targets for vaccine development and antiviral therapies.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rabies is a zoonotic disease caused by the Lyssavirus rabies virus (RABV) that can infect most mammals, including humans, where it has a case-fatality rate of almost 100%. Although preventable by vaccination, rabies causes c. 59,000 human fatalities every year worldwide. Thus, there exists an urgent need to establish an effective therapy and/or improve dissemination of vaccines for humans and animals. These outcomes require greater understanding of the mechanisms of RABV pathogenesis to identify new molecular targets for the development of therapeutics and/or live vaccines with high levels of safety. Importantly, a number of studies in recent years have indicated that RABV specifically suppresses host immunity through diverse mechanisms and that this is a key process in pathogenicity. Here, we review current understanding of immune modulation by RABV, with an emphasis on its significance to pathogenicity and the potential exploitation of this knowledge to develop new vaccines and antivirals.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rabies virus P-protein is expressed as five isoforms (P1-P5) which undergo nucleocytoplasmic trafficking important to roles in immune evasion. Although nuclear import of P3 is known to be mediated by an importin (IMP)-recognised nuclear localization sequence in the N-terminal region (N-NLS), the mechanisms underlying nuclear import of other P isoforms in which the N-NLS is inactive or has been deleted have remained unresolved. Based on the previous observation that mutation of basic residues K214/R260 of the P-protein C-terminal domain (P-CTD) can result in nuclear exclusion of P3, we used live cell imaging, protein interaction analysis and in vitro nuclear transport assays to examine in detail the nuclear trafficking properties of this domain. We find that the effect of mutation of K214/R260 on P3 is largely dependent on nuclear export, suggesting that nuclear exclusion of mutated P3 involves the P-CTD-localized nuclear export sequence (C-NES). However, assays using cells in which nuclear export is pharmacologically inhibited indicate that these mutations significantly inhibit P3 nuclear accumulation and, importantly, prevent nuclear accumulation of P1, suggestive of effects on NLS-mediated import activity in these isoforms. Consistent with this, molecular binding and transport assays indicate that the P-CTD mediates IMPα2/IMPβ1-dependent nuclear import by conferring direct binding to the IMPα2/IMPβ1 heterodimer, as well as to a truncated form of IMPα2 lacking the IMPβ-binding autoinhibitory domain (ΔIBB-IMPα2), and IMPβ1 alone. These properties are all dependent on K214 and R260. This provides the first evidence that P-CTD contains a genuine IMP-binding NLS, and establishes the mechanism by which P-protein isoforms other than P3 can be imported to the nucleus. These data underpin a refined model for P-protein trafficking that involves the concerted action of multiple NESs and IMP-binding NLSs, and highlight the intricate regulation of P-protein subcellular localization, consistent with important roles in infection.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nuclear import of the accessory protein Vpr is central to infection by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). We previously identified the Vpr F72L mutation in a HIV-infected, long-term non-progressor, showing that it resulted in reduced Vpr nuclear accumulation and altered cytoplasmic localisation. Here we demonstrate for the first time that the effects of nuclear accumulation of the F72L mutation are due to impairment of microtubule-dependent-enhancement of Vpr nuclear import. We use high resolution imaging approaches including fluorescence recovery after photobleaching and other approaches to document interaction between Vpr and the dynein light chain, DYNLT1, and impaired interaction of the F72L mutant with DYNLT1. The results implicate MTs/DYNLT1 as drivers of Vpr nuclear import and HIV infection, with important therapeutic implications.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interferon (IFN) antagonist function is a major determinant of pathogenicity and cross-species infection by viruses, but remains poorly defined for many potentially zoonotic viruses resident in animal species. The paramyxovirus family contains several zoonotic viruses, including highly pathogenic viruses such as Nipah virus and Hendra virus, and an increasing number of largely uncharacterised animal viruses. Here, we report the characterisation of IFN antagonism by the rodent viruses J-virus (JPV) and Beilong virus (BeiPV) of the proposed Jeilongvirus genus of paramyxoviruses. Infection of cells by JPV and BeiPV was found to inhibit IFN-activated nuclear translocation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1). However, in contrast to most other paramyxoviruses, the JPV and BeiPV V proteins did not interact with nor inhibit signalling by STAT1 or STAT2, suggesting that JPV/BeiPV use an atypical V protein-independent strategy to target STATs, consistent with their inclusion in a separate genus. Nevertheless, the V proteins of both viruses interacted with melanoma differentiation associated protein 5 (MDA5) and robustly inhibited MDA5-dependent activation of the IFN-β promoter. This supports a growing body of evidence that MDA5 is a universal target of paramyxovirus V proteins, such that the V-MDA5 interaction represents a potential target for broad-spectrum antiviral approaches.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In recent years, understanding of the nucleolus has undergone a renaissance. Once considered primarily as the sites of ribosome biogenesis, nucleoli are now understood to be highly dynamic, multifunctional structures that participate in a plethora of cellular functions including regulation of the cell cycle, SRP assembly, apoptosis, and stress responses. Although the molecular/mechanistic details of many of these functions remain only partially resolved, it is becoming increasingly apparent that nucleoli are also common targets of almost all types of viruses, potentially allowing viruses to manipulate cellular responses and the intracellular environment to facilitate replication and propagation. Importantly, a number of recent studies have moved beyond early descriptive observations to identify key roles for nucleolar interactions in the viral life cycle and pathogenesis. While it is perhaps unsurprising that many viruses that replicate within the nucleus also form interactions with nucleoli, the roles of nucleoli in the biology of cytoplasmic viruses is less intuitive. Nevertheless, a number of positive stranded RNA viruses that replicate exclusively in the cytoplasm are known to express proteins that enter the nucleus and target nucleoli, and recent data have indicated similar processes in several cytoplasmic negative sense RNA viruses. Here, we review this emerging aspect of the virus-host interface with a focus on examples where virus-nucleolus interactions have been linked to specific functional outcomes/mechanistic processes in infection, and on the nucleolar interfaces formed by viruses that replicate exclusively in the cytoplasm. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rabies virus replicates in the cytoplasm of host cells, but rabies virus phosphoprotein (P-protein) undergoes active nucleocytoplasmic trafficking. Here we show that the largely nuclear P-protein isoform P3 can localise to nucleoli, and forms specific interactions with nucleolin. Importantly, depletion of nucleolin expression inhibits viral protein expression and infectious virus production by infected cells. This provides the first evidence that lyssaviruses interact with nucleolin, and that nucleolin is important to lyssavirus infection. Copyright © 2014, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
Conference Paper: Super-Resolution Microscopy of Cells Expressing Rhabdovirus Proteins[Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interferon (IFN)-mediated immunity is a central mode of defense against viral infection and evasion of this immune response is critical to the pathogenicity of viruses. IFN-antagonist proteins have recently been shown to interact with host microtubules (MTs) demonstrating a novel mechanism for subverting the IFN response (1). Using super-resolution fluorescence microscopy we have imaged the association of the IFN-antagonist protein with host cell MTs and the consequent changes to the architecture of the cell cytoskeleton. Super resolution imaging was achieved using the dSTORM approach on a home-built set-up. dSTORM imaging of MT architecture in cells expressing Rhabdovirus proteins has allowed previously unobservable changes caused by the IFN-antagonist proteins to be detected. Transfected cells COS7 cells labeled with Alexa 647 (Figure - left panel) show a high degree of bundling and abnormal curvature of the microtubule skeleton. In contrast, healthy control cells (Figure - center panel) show normal microtubule architecture.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Rabies virus (RABV) causes rabies disease resulting in >55,000 human deaths/year. The multifunctional RABV P-protein has essential roles in genome replication, and forms interactions with cellular STAT proteins that are thought to underlie viral antagonism of interferon-dependent immunity. However, the molecular details of P-protein-STAT interaction, and its importance to disease are unresolved. Methods: Studies were performed using sequence/structure analysis, mutagenesis, immunoprecipitation, luciferase and qRT-PCR-based signaling assays, confocal microscopy and reverse genetics/in vivo infection. Results: We identified a hydrophobic pocket of the P-protein C-terminal domain as critical to STAT-binding/antagonism. This interface was found to be functionally and spatially independent of the region responsible for N-protein interaction, which is critical to genome replication. Based on these findings, we generated the first mutant RABV lacking STAT-association. Growth of the virus in vitro was unimpaired, but it lacked STAT-antagonist function and was highly sensitive to interferon. Importantly, growth of the virus was strongly attenuated in brains of infected mice, producing no major neurological symptoms, compared with the invariably lethal wild-type virus. Conclusions: These data represent direct evidence that P-protein-STAT interaction is critical to rabies, and provide novel insights into the mechanism by which RABV coordinates distinct functions in interferon antagonism and replication.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bovine ephemeral fever virus (BEFV) is an arthropod-borne rhabdovirus that is classified as the type species of the genus Ephemerovirus. In addition to the five common rhabdovirus structural proteins (N, P, M, G and L), the large and complex BEFV genome contains several ORFs between the G and L genes (α1, α2/α3, β and γ) encoding proteins of unknown function. We show that the 10.5 kDa BEFV α1 protein is expressed in infected cells and, consistent with previous predictions based on its structure, has the properties of a viroporin. Expression of a BEFVα1-MBP-fusion protein in E. coli was observed to inhibit cell growth and increase membrane permeability to hygromycin-B. Increased membrane permeability was also observed in BEFV-infected mammalian cells (but not cells infected with an α1-defficient BEFV strain) and in cells expressing a BEFV α1-GFP fusion protein which was shown by confocal microscopy to localize to the Golgi complex. Furthermore, the predicted C-terminal cytoplasmic domain of α1, which contains a strong nuclear localization signal (NLS), was translocated to the nucleus when expressed independently and, in an affinity chromatography assay employing a GFP-trap, the full-length α1 was observed to interact specifically with importin β1 and importin 7, but not with importin α3. These data suggest that, in addition to its function as a viroporin, BEFV α1 may modulate components of nuclear trafficking pathways, but the specific role thereof remains unclear.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Immune evasion by rabies virus depends on targeting of the signal transducers and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) and STAT2 proteins by the viral interferon antagonist P protein, but targeting of other STAT proteins has not been investigated. Here, we find that P protein associates with activated STAT3 and inhibits STAT3 nuclear accumulation and Gp130-dependent signaling. This is the first report of STAT3 targeting by the interferon antagonist of a virus other than a paramyxovirus, indicating that STAT3 antagonism is important to a range of human-pathogenic viruses.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The paramyxoviruses are a family of > 30 viruses that variously infect humans, other mammals and fish to cause diverse outcomes, ranging from asymptomatic to lethal disease, with the zoonotic paramyxoviruses Nipah and Hendra showing up to 70% case-fatality rate in humans. The capacity to evade host immunity is central to viral infection, and paramyxoviruses have evolved multiple strategies to overcome the host interferon (IFN)-mediated innate immune response through the activity of their IFN-antagonist proteins. Although paramyxovirus IFN antagonists generally target common factors of the IFN system, including melanoma differentiation associated factor 5, retinoic acid-inducible gene-I, signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT)1 and STAT2, and IFN regulatory factor 3, the mechanisms of antagonism show remarkable diversity between different genera and even individual members of the same genus; the reasons for this diversity, however, are not currently understood. Here, we review the IFN antagonism strategies of paramyxoviruses, highlighting mechanistic differences observed between individual species and genera. We also discuss potential sources of this diversity, including biological differences in the host and/or tissue specificity of different paramyxoviruses, and potential effects of experimental approaches that have largely relied on in vitro systems. Importantly, recent studies using recombinant virus systems and animal infection models are beginning to clarify the importance of certain mechanisms of IFN antagonism to in vivo infections, providing important indications not only of their critical importance to virulence, but also of their potential targeting for new therapeutic/vaccine approaches.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Viral interaction with the microtubule (MT) cytoskeleton is critical to infection by many viruses. Most data regarding virus-MT interaction indicate key roles in the subcellular transport of virions/viral genomic material to sites of replication, assembly and egress. However, the MT cytoskeleton orchestrates diverse processes in addition to subcellular cargo transport, including regulation of signaling pathways, cell survival and mitosis, suggesting that viruses, expert manipulators of the host cell, may use the virus-MT interface to control multiple aspects of cell biology. Several lines of evidence support this idea, indicating that specific viral proteins can modify MT dynamics and/or structure and regulate processes such as apoptosis and innate immune signaling through MT-dependent mechanisms. Here, the authors review general aspects of virus-MT interactions, with emphasis on viral mechanisms that modify MT dynamics and functions to affect processes beyond virion transport. The emerging importance of discrete viral protein-MT interactions in pathogenic processes indicates that these interfaces may represent new targets for future therapeutics and vaccine development.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The evasion of host innate immunity by Rabies virus, the prototype of the genus Lyssavirus, depends on a unique mechanism of selective targeting of interferon-activated STAT proteins by the viral phosphoprotein (P-protein). However, the immune evasion strategies of other lyssaviruses, including several lethal human pathogens, are unresolved. Here, we show that this mechanism is conserved between the most distantly related members of the genus, providing important insights into the pathogenesis and potential therapeutic targeting of lyssaviruses.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Regulated nucleocytoplasmic transport of proteins is central to cellular function and dysfunction during processes such as viral infection. Active protein trafficking into and out of the nucleus is dependent on the presence within cargo proteins of intrinsic specific modular signals for nuclear import (nuclear localization signals, NLSs) and export (nuclear export signals, NESs). Rabies virus (RabV) phospho (P) protein, which is largely responsible for antagonising the host anti-viral response, is expressed as five isoforms (P1-P5). The subcellular trafficking of these isoforms is thought to depend on a balance between the activities of a dominant N-terminal NES (N-NES) and a distinct C-terminal NLS (C-NLS). Specifically, the N-NES-containing isoforms P1 and P2 are cytoplasmic, whereas the shorter P3-P5 isoforms, which lack the N-NES, are believed to be nuclear through the activity of the C-NLS. Here, we show for the first time that RabV P contains an additional strong NLS in the N-terminal region (N-NLS), which, intriguingly, overlaps with the N-NES. This arrangement represents a novel nuclear trafficking module where the N-NLS is inactive in P1 but becomes activated in P3, concomitant with truncation of the N-NES, to become the principal targeting signal conferring nuclear accumulation. Understanding this unique switch arrangement of overlapping, co-regulated NES/NLS sequences is vital to delineating the critical role of RabV P protein in viral infection.
- [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although the microtubule (MT) cytoskeleton has been shown to facilitate nuclear import of specific cancer-regulatory proteins including p53, retinoblastoma protein, and parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP), the MT association sequences (MTASs) responsible and the nature of the interplay between MT-dependent and conventional importin (IMP)-dependent nuclear translocation are unknown. Here we used site-directed mutagenesis, live cell imaging, and direct IMP and MT binding assays to map the MTAS of PTHrP for the first time, finding that it is within a short modular region (residues 82-108) that overlaps with the IMPβ1-recognized nuclear localization signal (residues 66-108) of PTHrP. Importantly, fluorescence recovery after photobleaching experiments indicated that disruption of the MT network or mutation of the MTAS of PTHrP decreases the rate of nuclear import by 2-fold. Moreover, MTAS functions depend on mutual exclusivity of binding of PTHrP to MTs and IMPβ1 such that, following MT-dependent trafficking toward the nucleus, perinuclear PTHrP can be displaced from MTs by IMPβ1 prior to import into the nucleus. This is the first molecular definition of an MTAS that facilitates protein nuclear import as well as the first delineation of the mechanism whereby cargo is transferred directly from the cytoskeleton to the cellular nuclear import apparatus. The results have broad significance with respect to fundamental processes regulating cell physiology/transformation.
Monash University (Australia)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
- Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
University of VicVic, Catalonia, Spain