Distinct DNA exit and packaging portals in the virus Acanthamoeba polyphaga mimivirus.
ABSTRACT: Icosahedral double-stranded DNA viruses use a single portal for genome delivery and packaging. The extensive structural similarity revealed by such portals in diverse viruses, as well as their invariable positioning at a unique icosahedral vertex, led to the consensus that a particular, highly conserved vertex-portal architecture is essential for viral DNA translocations. Here we present an exception to this paradigm by demonstrating that genome delivery and packaging in the virus Acanthamoeba polyphaga mimivirus occur through two distinct portals. By using high-resolution techniques, including electron tomography and cryo-scanning electron microscopy, we show that Mimivirus genome delivery entails a large-scale conformational change of the capsid, whereby five icosahedral faces open up. This opening, which occurs at a unique vertex of the capsid that we coined the "stargate", allows for the formation of a massive membrane conduit through which the viral DNA is released. A transient aperture centered at an icosahedral face distal to the DNA delivery site acts as a non-vertex DNA packaging portal. In conjunction with comparative genomic studies, our observations imply a viral packaging pathway akin to bacterial DNA segregation, which might be shared by diverse internal membrane-containing viruses.
Project description:Herpesviruses are enveloped viruses that are prevalent in the human population and are responsible for diverse pathologies, including cold sores, birth defects and cancers. They are characterized by a highly pressurized pseudo-icosahedral capsid-with triangulation number (T) equal to 16-encapsidating a tightly packed double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) genome1-3. A key process in the herpesvirus life cycle involves the recruitment of an ATP-driven terminase to a unique portal vertex to recognize, package and cleave concatemeric dsDNA, ultimately giving rise to a pressurized, genome-containing virion4,5. Although this process has been studied in dsDNA phages6-9-with which herpesviruses bear some similarities-a lack of high-resolution in situ structures of genome-packaging machinery has prevented the elucidation of how these multi-step reactions, which require close coordination among multiple actors, occur in an integrated environment. To better define the structural basis of genome packaging and organization in herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), we developed sequential localized classification and symmetry relaxation methods to process cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) images of HSV-1 virions, which enabled us to decouple and reconstruct hetero-symmetric and asymmetric elements within the pseudo-icosahedral capsid. Here we present in situ structures of the unique portal vertex, genomic termini and ordered dsDNA coils in the capsid spooled around a disordered dsDNA core. We identify tentacle-like helices and a globular complex capping the portal vertex that is not observed in phages, indicative of herpesvirus-specific adaptations in the DNA-packaging process. Finally, our atomic models of portal vertex elements reveal how the fivefold-related capsid accommodates symmetry mismatch imparted by the dodecameric portal-a longstanding mystery in icosahedral viruses-and inform possible DNA-sequence recognition and headful-sensing pathways involved in genome packaging. This work showcases how to resolve symmetry-mismatched elements in a large eukaryotic virus and provides insights into the mechanisms of herpesvirus genome packaging.
Project description:Large biological structures are assembled from smaller, often symmetric, sub-structures. However, asymmetry among sub-structures is fundamentally important for biological function. An extreme form of asymmetry, a 12-fold-symmetric dodecameric portal complex inserted into a 5-fold-symmetric capsid vertex, is found in numerous icosahedral viruses, including tailed bacteriophages, herpesviruses, and archaeal viruses. This vertex is critical for driving capsid assembly, DNA packaging, tail attachment, and genome ejection. Here, we report the near-atomic in situ structure of the symmetry-mismatched portal vertex from bacteriophage T4. Remarkably, the local structure of portal morphs to compensate for symmetry-mismatch, forming similar interactions in different capsid environments while maintaining strict symmetry in the rest of the structure. This creates a unique and unusually dynamic symmetry-mismatched vertex that is central to building an infectious virion.
Project description:Herpes simplex virus type 1 is a human pathogen responsible for a range of illnesses from cold sores to encephalitis. The icosahedral capsid has a portal at one fivefold vertex which, by analogy to portal-containing phages, is believed to mediate genome entry and exit. We used electron cryotomography to determine the structure of capsids lacking pentons. The portal vertex appears different from pentons, being located partially inside the capsid shell, a position equivalent to that of bacteriophage portals. Such similarity in portal organization supports the idea of the evolutionary relatedness of these viruses.
Project description:Icosahedral double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) bacterial viruses are known to package their genomes into preformed procapsids via a unique portal vertex. Bacteriophage PRD1 differs from the more commonly known icosahedral dsDNA phages in that it contains an internal lipid membrane. The packaging of PRD1 is known to proceed via preformed empty capsids. Now, a unique vertex has been shown to exist in PRD1. We show in this study that this unique vertex extends to the virus internal membrane via two integral membrane proteins, P20 and P22. These small membrane proteins are necessary for the binding of the putative packaging ATPase P9, via another capsid protein, P6, to the virus particle.
Project description:Two crucial steps in the virus life cycle are genome encapsidation to form an infective virion and genome exit to infect the next host cell. In most icosahedral double-stranded (ds) DNA viruses, the viral genome enters and exits the capsid through a unique vertex. Internal membrane-containing viruses possess additional complexity as the genome must be translocated through the viral membrane bilayer. Here, we report the structure of the genome packaging complex with a membrane conduit essential for viral genome encapsidation in the tailless icosahedral membrane-containing bacteriophage PRD1. We utilize single particle electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM) and symmetry-free image reconstruction to determine structures of PRD1 virion, procapsid, and packaging deficient mutant particles. At the unique vertex of PRD1, the packaging complex replaces the regular 5-fold structure and crosses the lipid bilayer. These structures reveal that the packaging ATPase P9 and the packaging efficiency factor P6 form a dodecameric portal complex external to the membrane moiety, surrounded by ten major capsid protein P3 trimers. The viral transmembrane density at the special vertex is assigned to be a hexamer of heterodimer of proteins P20 and P22. The hexamer functions as a membrane conduit for the DNA and as a nucleating site for the unique vertex assembly. Our structures show a conformational alteration in the lipid membrane after the P9 and P6 are recruited to the virion. The P8-genome complex is then packaged into the procapsid through the unique vertex while the genome terminal protein P8 functions as a valve that closes the channel once the genome is inside. Comparing mature virion, procapsid, and mutant particle structures led us to propose an assembly pathway for the genome packaging apparatus in the PRD1 virion.
Project description:Motor-driven packaging of a dsDNA genome into a preformed protein capsid through a unique portal vertex is essential in the life cycle of a large number of dsDNA viruses. We have used single-particle electron cryomicroscopy to study the multilayer structure of the portal vertex of the bacteriophage T7 procapsid, the recipient of T7 DNA in packaging. A focused asymmetric reconstruction method was developed and applied to selectively resolve neighboring pairs of symmetry-mismatched layers of the portal vertex. However, structural features in all layers of the multilayer portal vertex could not be resolved simultaneously. Our results imply that layers with mismatched symmetries can join together in several different relative orientations, and that orientations at different interfaces assort independently to produce structural isomers, a process that we call combinatorial assembly isomerism. This isomerism explains rotational smearing in previously reported asymmetric reconstructions of the portal vertex of T7 and other bacteriophages. Combinatorial assembly isomerism may represent a new regime of structural biology in which globally varying structures assemble from a common set of components. Our reconstructions collectively validate previously proposed symmetries, compositions, and sequential order of T7 portal vertex layers, resolving in tandem the 5-fold gene product 10 (gp10) shell, 12-fold gp8 portal ring, and an internal core stack consisting of 12-fold gp14 adaptor ring, 8-fold bowl-shaped gp15, and 4-fold gp16 tip. We also found a small tilt of the core stack relative to the icosahedral fivefold axis and propose that this tilt assists DNA spooling without tangling during packaging.
Project description:Tailed bacteriophages and herpes viruses use powerful molecular machines to package their genomes. The packaging machine consists of three components: portal, motor (large terminase; TerL) and regulator (small terminase; TerS). Portal, a dodecamer, and motor, a pentamer, form two concentric rings at the special five-fold vertex of the icosahedral capsid. Powered by ATPase, the motor ratchets DNA into the capsid through the portal channel. TerS is essential for packaging, particularly for genome recognition, but its mechanism is unknown and controversial. Structures of gear-shaped TerS rings inspired models that invoke DNA threading through the central channel. Here, we report that mutations of basic residues that line phage T4 TerS (gp16) channel do not disrupt DNA binding. Even deletion of the entire channel helix retained DNA binding and produced progeny phage in vivo On the other hand, large oligomers of TerS (11-mers/12-mers), but not small oligomers (trimers to hexamers), bind DNA. These results suggest that TerS oligomerization creates a large outer surface, which, but not the interior of the channel, is critical for function, probably to wrap viral genome around the ring during packaging initiation. Hence, models involving TerS-mediated DNA threading may be excluded as an essential mechanism for viral genome packaging.
Project description:Formation of many dsDNA viruses begins with the assembly of a procapsid, containing scaffolding proteins and a multisubunit portal but lacking DNA, which matures into an infectious virion. This process, conserved among dsDNA viruses such as herpes viruses and bacteriophages, is key to forming infectious virions. Bacteriophage P22 has served as a model system for this study in the past several decades. However, how capsid assembly is initiated, where and how scaffolding proteins bind to coat proteins in the procapsid, and the conformational changes upon capsid maturation still remain elusive. Here, we report C? backbone models for the P22 procapsid and infectious virion derived from electron cryomicroscopy density maps determined at 3.8- and 4.0-? resolution, respectively, and the first procapsid structure at subnanometer resolution without imposing symmetry. The procapsid structures show the scaffolding protein interacting electrostatically with the N terminus (N arm) of the coat protein through its C-terminal helix-loop-helix motif, as well as unexpected interactions between 10 scaffolding proteins and the 12-fold portal located at a unique vertex. These suggest a critical role for the scaffolding proteins both in initiating the capsid assembly at the portal vertex and propagating its growth on a T = 7 icosahedral lattice. Comparison of the procapsid and the virion backbone models reveals coordinated and complex conformational changes. These structural observations allow us to propose a more detailed molecular mechanism for the scaffolding-mediated capsid assembly initiation including portal incorporation, release of scaffolding proteins upon DNA packaging, and maturation into infectious virions.
Project description:The critical viral components for packaging DNA, recognizing and binding to host cells, and injecting the condensed DNA into the host are organized at a single vertex of many icosahedral viruses. These component structures do not share icosahedral symmetry and cannot be resolved using a conventional icosahedral averaging method. Here we report the structure of the entire infectious Salmonella bacteriophage epsilon15 (ref. 1) determined from single-particle cryo-electron microscopy, without icosahedral averaging. This structure displays not only the icosahedral shell of 60 hexamers and 11 pentamers, but also the non-icosahedral components at one pentameric vertex. The densities at this vertex can be identified as the 12-subunit portal complex sandwiched between an internal cylindrical core and an external tail hub connecting to six projecting trimeric tailspikes. The viral genome is packed as coaxial coils in at least three outer layers with approximately 90 terminal nucleotides extending through the protein core and the portal complex and poised for injection. The shell protein from icosahedral reconstruction at higher resolution exhibits a similar fold to that of other double-stranded DNA viruses including herpesvirus, suggesting a common ancestor among these diverse viruses. The image reconstruction approach should be applicable to studying other biological nanomachines with components of mixed symmetries.
Project description:How the human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) genome-the largest among human herpesviruses-is packaged, retained, and ejected remains unclear. We present the in situ structures of the symmetry-mismatched portal and the capsid vertex-specific components (CVSCs) of HCMV. The 5-fold symmetric 10-helix anchor-uncommon among known portals-contacts the portal-encircling DNA, which is presumed to squeeze the portal as the genome packaging proceeds. We surmise that the 10-helix anchor dampens this action to delay the portal reaching a "head-full" packaging state, thus facilitating the large genome to be packaged. The 6-fold symmetric turret, latched via a coiled coil to a helix from a major capsid protein, supports the portal to retain the packaged genome. CVSCs at the penton vertices-presumed to increase inner capsid pressure-display a low stoichiometry, which would aid genome retention. We also demonstrate that the portal and capsid undergo conformational changes to facilitate genome ejection after viral cell entry.