Proteolytic processing of the replicase ORF1a protein of equine arteritis virus.
ABSTRACT: To study the proteolytic processing of the equine arteritis virus (EAV) replicase open reading frame 1a (ORF1a) protein, specific antisera were raised in rabbits, with six synthetic peptides and a bacterial fusion protein as antigens. The processing of the EAV ORF1a product in infected cells was analyzed with Western blot (immunoblot) and immunoprecipitation techniques. Additional information was obtained from transient expression of ORF1a cDNA constructs. The 187-kDa ORF1a protein was found to be subject to at least five proteolytic cleavages. The processing scheme, which covers the entire ORF1a protein, results in cleavage products of approximately 29, 61, 22, 31, 41, and 3 kDa, which were named nonstructural proteins (nsps) 1 through 6, respectively. Pulse-chase experiments revealed that the cleavages at the nsp1/2 and nsp2/3 junctions are the most rapid processing steps. The remaining nsp3456 precursor is first cleaved at the nsp4/5 site. Final processing of the nsp34 and nsp56 intermediates is extremely slow. As predicted from previous in vitro translation experiments (E. J. Snijder, A. L. M. Wassenaar, and W. J. M. Spaan, J. Virol. 66:7040-7048, 1992), a cysteine protease domain in nsp1 was shown to be responsible for the nsp1/2 cleavage. The other processing steps are carried out by the putative EAV serine protease in nsp4 and by a third protease, which remains to be identified.
Project description:The open reading frame (ORF) 1b-encoded part of the equine arteritis virus (EAV) replicase is expressed by ribosomal frameshifting during genome translation, which results in the production of an ORF1ab fusion protein (345 kDa). Four ORF1b-encoded processing products, nsp9 (p80), nsp10 (p50), nsp11 (p26), and nsp12 (p12), have previously been identified in EAV-infected cells (L. C. van Dinten, A. L. M. Wassenaar, A. E. Gorbalenya, W. J. M. Spaan, and E. J. Snijder, J. Virol. 70:6625-6633, 1996). In the present study, the generation of these four nonstructural proteins was shown to be mediated by the nsp4 serine protease, which is the main viral protease (E. J. Snijder, A. L. M. Wassenaar, L. C. van Dinten, W. J. M. Spaan, and A. E. Gorbalenya, J. Biol. Chem. 271:4864-4871, 1996). Mutagenesis of candidate cleavage sites revealed that Glu-2370/Ser, Gln-2837/Ser, and Glu-3056/Gly are the probable nsp9/10, nsp10/11, and nsp11/12 junctions, respectively. Mutations which abolished ORF1b protein processing were introduced into a recently developed infectious cDNA clone (L. C. van Dinten, J. A. den Boon, A. L. M. Wassenaar, W. J. M. Spaan, and E. J. Snijder, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 94:991-997, 1997). An analysis of these mutants showed that the selective blockage of ORF1b processing affected different stages of EAV reproduction. In particular, the mutant with the nsp10/11 cleavage site mutation Gln-2837-->Pro displayed an unusual phenotype, since it was still capable of RNA synthesis but was incapable of producing infectious virus.
Project description:The replicase open reading frame lb (ORF1b) protein of equine arteritis virus (EAV) is expressed from the viral genome as an ORF1ab fusion protein (345 kDa) by ribosomal frameshifting. Processing of the ORF1b polyprotein was predicted to be mediated by the nsp4 serine protease, the main EAV protease. Several putative cleavage sites for this protease were detected in the ORF1b polyprotein. On the basis of this tentative processing scheme, peptides were selected to raise rabbit antisera that were used to study the processing of the EAV replicase ORF1b polyprotein (158 kDa). In immunoprecipitation and immunoblotting experiments, processing products of 80, 50, 26, and 12 kDa were detected. Of these, the 80-kDa and the 50-kDa proteins contain the putative viral polymerase and helicase domains, respectively. Together, the four cleavage products probably cover the entire ORF1b-encoded region of the EAV replicase, thereby representing the first complete processing scheme of a coronaviruslike ORF1b polyprotein. Pulse-chase analysis revealed that processing of the ORF1b polyprotein is slow and that several large precursor proteins containing both ORF1a- and ORF1b-encoded regions are generated. The localization of ORF1b-specific proteins in the infected cell was studied by immunofluorescence. A perinuclear staining was observed, which suggests association with a membranous compartment.
Project description:Equine arteritis virus (EAV) and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) represent two members of the family Arteriviridae and pose major threats for the horse- and swine-breeding industries worldwide. A previous study suggested that PRRSV nsp4, a 3C-like protease, antagonizes interferon beta (IFN-?) production by cleaving the NF-?B essential modulator (NEMO) at a single site, glutamate 349 (E349). Here, we demonstrated that EAV nsp4 also inhibited virus-induced IFN-? production by targeting NEMO for proteolytic cleavage and that the scission occurred at four sites: E166, E171, glutamine 205 (Q205), and E349. Additionally, we found that, besides the previously reported cleavage site E349 in NEMO, scission by PRRSV nsp4 took place at two additional sites, E166 and E171. These results imply that while cleaving NEMO is a common strategy utilized by EAV and PRRSV nsp4 to antagonize IFN induction, EAV nsp4 adopts a more complex substrate recognition mechanism to target NEMO. By analyzing the abilities of the eight different NEMO fragments resulting from EAV or PRRSV nsp4 scission to induce IFN-? production, we serendipitously found that a NEMO fragment (residues 1 to 349) could activate IFN-? transcription more robustly than full-length NEMO, whereas all other NEMO cleavage products were abrogated for the IFN-?-inducing capacity. Thus, NEMO cleavage at E349 alone may not be sufficient to completely inactivate the IFN response via this signaling adaptor. Altogether, our findings suggest that EAV and PRRSV nsp4 cleave NEMO at multiple sites and that this strategy is critical for disarming the innate immune response for viral survival.IMPORTANCE The arterivirus nsp4-encoded 3C-like protease (3CLpro) plays an important role in virus replication and immune evasion, making it an attractive target for antiviral therapeutics. Previous work suggested that PRRSV nsp4 suppresses type I IFN production by cleaving NEMO at a single site. In contrast, the present study demonstrates that both EAV and PRRSV nsp4 cleave NEMO at multiple sites and that this strategy is essential for disruption of type I IFN production. Moreover, we reveal that EAV nsp4 also cleaves NEMO at glutamine 205 (Q205), which is not targeted by PRRSV nsp4. Notably, targeting a glutamine in NEMO for cleavage has been observed only with picornavirus 3C proteases (3Cpro) and coronavirus 3CLpro In aggregate, our work expands knowledge of the innate immune evasion mechanisms associated with NEMO cleavage by arterivirus nsp4 and describes a novel substrate recognition characteristic of EAV nsp4.
Project description:The nucleotide sequence of the genome of equine arteritis virus (EAV) was determined from a set of overlapping cDNA clones and was found to contain eight open reading frames (ORFs). ORFs 2 through 7 are expressed from six 3'-coterminal subgenomic mRNAs, which are transcribed from the 3'-terminal quarter of the viral genome. A number of these ORFs are predicted to encode structural EAV proteins. The organization and expression of the 3' part of the EAV genome are remarkably similar to those of coronaviruses and toroviruses. The 5'-terminal three-quarters of the genome contain the putative EAV polymerase gene, which also shares a number of features with the corresponding gene of corona- and toroviruses. The gene contains two large ORFs, ORF1a and ORF1b, with an overlap region of 19 nucleotides. The presence of a "shifty" heptanucleotide sequence in this region and a downstream RNA pseudoknot structure indicate that ORF1b is probably expressed by ribosomal frameshifting. The frameshift-directing potential of the ORF1a/ORF1b overlap region was demonstrated by using a reporter gene. Moreover, the predicted ORF1b product was found to contain four domains which have been identified in the same relative positions in coronavirus and torovirus ORF1b products. The sequences of the EAV and coronavirus ORF1a proteins were found to be much more diverged. The EAV ORF1a product contains a putative trypsinlike serine protease motif. Our data indicate that EAV, presently considered a togavirus, is evolutionarily related to viruses from the coronaviruslike superfamily.
Project description:Equine arteritis virus (EAV) replicase consists of two polyproteins (pp1a and pp1ab) that are encoded by open reading frames (ORFs) 1a and 1b of the viral genome. These two replicase polyproteins are posttranslationally processed by three ORF 1a-encoded proteinases to yield at least 13 nonstructural proteins (nsp1 to nsp12, including nsp7? and 7?). These nsps are expressed in EAV-infected cells, but the equine immune response they induce has not been studied. Therefore, the primary purpose of this study was to evaluate the humoral immune response of horses to each of the nsps following EAV infection. Individual nsp coding regions were cloned and expressed in both mammalian and bacterial expression systems. Each recombinant protein was used in an immunoprecipitation assay with equine serum samples from horses (n = 3) that were experimentally infected with three different EAV strains (VB, KY77, and KY84), from stallions (n = 4) that were persistently infected with EAV, and from horses (n = 4) that were vaccinated with the modified live-virus (MLV) vaccine strain. Subsequently, protein-antibody complexes were subjected to Western immunoblotting analysis with individual nsp-specific rabbit antisera, mouse anti-His antibody, or anti-FLAG tag antibody. Nsp2, nsp4, nsp5, and nsp12 were immunoprecipitated by most of the sera from experimentally or persistently infected horses, while sera from vaccinated horses did not react with nsp5 and reacted weakly with nsp4. However, serum samples from vaccinated horses were able to immunoprecipitate nsp2 and nsp12 proteins consistently. Information from this study will assist ongoing efforts to develop improved methods for the serologic diagnosis of EAV infection in horses.
Project description:Alphavirus replicase protein nsP1 has multiple functions during viral RNA synthesis. It catalyzes methyltransferase and guanylyltransferase activities needed in viral mRNA capping, attaches the viral replication complex to cytoplasmic membranes, and is required for minus-strand RNA synthesis. Two temperature-sensitive (ts) mutations in Semliki Forest virus (SFV) were previously identified within nsP1: ts10 (E529D) and ts14 (D119N). Recombinant viruses containing these individual mutations reproduced the features of the original ts strains. We now find that the capping-associated enzymatic activities of recombinant nsP1, containing ts10 or ts14 lesions, were not ts. The mutant proteins and polyproteins also were membrane bound, mutant nsP1 interacted normally with the other nonstructural proteins, and there was no major defect in nonstructural polyprotein processing in the mutants, although ts14 surprisingly displayed slightly retarded processing. The two mutant viruses were specifically defective in minus-strand RNA synthesis at the restrictive temperature. Integrating data from SFV and Sindbis virus, we discuss the domain structure of nsP1 and the relative positioning of and interactions between the replicase proteins. nsP1 is suggested to contain a specific subdomain involved in minus-strand synthesis and interaction with the polymerase nsP4 and the protease nsP2.
Project description:Two adjacent papainlike cysteine protease (PCP) domains, PCP alpha and PCP beta, were identified in the N-terminal region of the open reading frame 1a replicase proteins of the arteriviruses porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus and lactate dehydrogenase-elevating virus. The replicase of the related virus equine arteritis virus contains only one active PCP in the corresponding region. Sequence comparison revealed that the equine arteritis virus PCP alpha counterpart probably was inactivated by loss of its catalytic Cys residue. For both porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus and lactate dehydrogenase-elevating virus, the generation of two processing products, nsp1 alpha and nsp1 beta, was demonstrated by in vitro translation. Site-directed mutagenesis and sequence comparison were used to identify the putative active-site residues of the PCP alpha and PCP beta protease domains and to show that they mediate the nsp1 alpha/1 beta and nsp1 beta/2 cleavages, respectively.
Project description:Alphaviruses are positive-strand RNA viruses expressing their replicase as a polyprotein, P1234, which is cleaved to four final products, nonstructural proteins nsP1 to nsP4. The replicase proteins together with viral RNA and host factors form membrane invaginations termed spherules, which act as the replication complexes producing progeny RNAs. We have previously shown that the wild-type alphavirus replicase requires a functional RNA template and active polymerase to generate spherule structures. However, we now find that specific partially processed forms of the replicase proteins alone can give rise to membrane invaginations in the absence of RNA or replication. The minimal requirement for spherule formation was the expression of properly cleaved nsP4, together with either uncleaved P123 or with the combination of nsP1 and uncleaved P23. These inactive spherules were morphologically less regular than replication-induced spherules. In the presence of template, nsP1 plus uncleaved P23 plus nsP4 could efficiently assemble active replication spherules producing both negative-sense and positive-sense RNA strands. P23 alone did not have membrane affinity, but could be recruited to membrane sites in the presence of nsP1 and nsP4. These results define the set of viral components required for alphavirus replication complex assembly and suggest the possibility that it could be reconstituted from separately expressed nonstructural proteins.IMPORTANCE All positive-strand RNA viruses extensively modify host cell membranes to serve as efficient platforms for viral RNA replication. Alphaviruses and several other groups induce protective membrane invaginations (spherules) as their genome factories. Most positive-strand viruses produce their replicase as a polyprotein precursor, which is further processed through precise and regulated cleavages. We show here that specific cleavage intermediates of the alphavirus replicase can give rise to spherule structures in the absence of viral RNA. In the presence of template RNA, the same intermediates yield active replication complexes. Thus, partially cleaved replicase proteins play key roles that connect replication complex assembly, membrane deformation, and the different stages of RNA synthesis.
Project description:The plus-strand RNA genome of Sindbis virus (SINV) encodes four nonstructural proteins (nsP1 to nsP4) that are involved in the replication of the viral RNA. The approximately 800-amino-acid nsP2 consists of an N-terminal domain with nucleoside triphosphatase and helicase activities and a C-terminal protease domain. Recently, the structure determined for Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus nsP2 indicated the presence of a previously unrecognized methyltransferase (MTase)-like domain within the C-terminal approximately 200 residues and raised a question about its functional importance. To assess the role of this MTase-like region in viral replication, highly conserved arginine and lysine residues were mutated to alanine. The plaque phenotypes of these mutants ranged from large/wild-type to small plaques with selected mutations demonstrating temperature sensitive lethality. The proteolytic polyprotein processing activity of nsP2 was unaffected in most of the mutants. Some of the temperature-sensitive mutants showed reduction in the minus-strand RNA synthesis, a function that has not yet been ascribed to nsP2. Mutation of SINV residue R615 rendered the virus noncytopathic and incapable of inhibiting the host cell translation but with no effects on the transcriptional inhibition. This property differentiated the mutation at R615 from previously described noncytopathic mutations. These results implicate nsP2 in regulation of minus-strand synthesis and suggest that different regions of the nsP2 MTase-like domain differentially modulate host defense mechanisms, independent of its role as the viral protease.
Project description:Biogenesis and replication of the porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV) include the crucial step of replicative polyprotein processing by self-encoded proteases. Whole genome bioinformatics analysis suggests that nonstructural protein 4 (nsp4) is a 3C-like serine protease (3CLSP), responsible for most of the nonstructural protein processing. The gene encoding this protease was cloned and expressed in Escherichia coli in order to confirm this prediction. The purified protein was crystallized, and the structure was solved at 1.9 A resolution. In addition, the crystal structure of the Ser118Ala mutant was determined at 2.0 A resolution. The monomeric enzyme folds into three domains, similar to that of the homologous protease of equine arteritis virus, which, like PRRSV, is a member of the family Arteriviridae in the order of Nidovirales. The active site of the PRRSV 3CLSP is located between domains I and II and harbors a canonical catalytic triad comprising Ser118, His39, and Asp64. The structure also shows an atypical oxyanion hole and a partially collapsed S1 specificity pocket. The proteolytic activity of the purified protein was assessed in vitro. Three sites joining nonstructural protein domains in the PRRSV replicative polyprotein are confirmed to be processed by the enzyme. Two of them, the nsp3/nsp4 and nsp11/nsp12 junctions, are shown to be cleaved in trans, while cis cleavage is demonstrated for the nsp4/nsp5 linker. Thus, we provide structural evidence as well as enzymatic proof of the nsp4 protein being a functional 3CLSP. We also show that the enzyme has a strong preference for glutamic acid at the P1 position of the substrate.