Norwalk virus assembly and stability monitored by mass spectrometry.
ABSTRACT: Viral capsid assembly, in which viral proteins self-assemble into complexes of well defined architecture, is a fascinating biological process. Although viral structure and assembly processes have been the subject of many excellent structural biology studies in the past, questions still remain regarding the intricate mechanisms that underlie viral structure, stability, and assembly. Here we used native mass spectrometry-based techniques to study the structure, stability, and assembly of Norwalk virus-like particles. Although detailed structural information on the fully assembled capsid exists, less information is available on potential capsid (dis)assembly intermediates, largely because of the inherent heterogeneity and complexity of the disassembly pathways. We used native mass spectrometry and atomic force microscopy to investigate the (dis)assembly of the Norwalk virus-like particles as a function of solution pH, ionic strength, and VP1 protein concentration. Native MS analysis at physiological pH revealed the presence of the complete capsid (T = 3) consisting of 180 copies of VP1. The mass of these capsid particles extends over 10 million Da, ranking them among the largest protein complexes ever analyzed by native MS. Although very stable under acidic conditions, the capsid was found to be sensitive to alkaline treatment. At elevated pH, intermediate structures consisting of 2, 4, 6, 18, 40, 60, and 80 copies of VP1 were observed with the VP1(60) (3.36-MDa) and VP1(80) (4.48-MDa) species being most abundant. Atomic force microscopy imaging and ion mobility mass spectrometry confirmed the formation of these latter midsize spherical particles at elevated pH. All these VP1 oligomers could be reversely assembled into the original capsid (VP1(180)). From the MS data collected over a range of experimental conditions, we suggest a disassembly model in which the T = 3 VP1(180) particles dissociate into smaller oligomers, predominantly dimers, upon alkaline treatment prior to reassembly into VP1(60) and VP1(80) species.
Project description:The major capsid protein of norovirus VP1 assembles to form an icosahedral viral particle. Despite evidence that the Norwalk virus (NV) minor structural protein VP2 is present in infectious virions, the available crystallographic and electron cryomicroscopy structures of NV have not revealed the location of VP2. In this study, we determined that VP1 associates with VP2 at the interior surface of the capsid, specifically with the shell (S) domain of VP1. We mapped the interaction site to amino acid 52 of VP1, an isoleucine located within a sequence motif IDPWI in the S domain that is highly conserved across norovirus genogroups. Mutation of this isoleucine abrogated VP2 incorporation into virus-like particles without affecting the ability for VP1 to dimerize and form particles. The highly basic nature of VP2 and its location interior to the viral particle are consistent with its potential role in assisting capsid assembly and genome encapsidation.
Project description:Noroviruses are the main cause of viral gastroenteritis with new variants emerging frequently. There are three norovirus genogroups infecting humans. These genogroups are divided based on the sequence of their major capsid protein, which is able to form virus-like particles (VLPs) when expressed recombinantly. VLPs of the prototypical GI.1 Norwalk virus are known to disassemble into specific capsid protein oligomers upon alkaline treatment. Here, native mass spectrometry and electron microscopy on variants of GI.1 and of GII.17 were performed, revealing differences in terms of stability between these groups. Beyond that, these experiments indicate differences even between variants within a genotype. The capsid stability was monitored in different ammonium acetate solutions varying both in ionic strength and pH. The investigated GI.1 West Chester isolate showed comparable disassembly profiles to the previously studied GI.1 Norwalk virus isolate. However, differences were observed with the West Chester being more sensitive to alkaline pH. In stark contrast to that, capsids of the variant belonging to the currently prevalent genogroup GII were stable in all tested conditions. Both variants formed smaller capsid particles already at neutral pH. Certain amino acid substitutions in the S domain of West Chester relative to the Norwalk virus potentially result in the formation of these T??=??1 capsids.
Project description:Viruses need only one or a few structural capsid proteins to build an infectious particle. This is possible through the extensive use of symmetry and the conformational polymorphism of the structural proteins. Using virus-like particles (VLP) from rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus (RHDV) as a model, we addressed the basis of calicivirus capsid assembly and their application in vaccine design. The RHDV capsid is based on a T=3 lattice containing 180 identical subunits (VP1). We determined the structure of RHDV VLP to 8.0-Å resolution by three-dimensional cryoelectron microscopy; in addition, we used San Miguel sea lion virus (SMSV) and feline calicivirus (FCV) capsid subunit structures to establish the backbone structure of VP1 by homology modeling and flexible docking analysis. Based on the three-domain VP1 model, several insertion mutants were designed to validate the VP1 pseudoatomic model, and foreign epitopes were placed at the N- or C-terminal end, as well as in an exposed loop on the capsid surface. We selected a set of T and B cell epitopes of various lengths derived from viral and eukaryotic origins. Structural analysis of these chimeric capsids further validates the VP1 model to design new chimeras. Whereas most insertions are well tolerated, VP1 with an FCV capsid protein-neutralizing epitope at the N terminus assembled into mixtures of T=3 and larger T=4 capsids. The calicivirus capsid protein, and perhaps that of many other viruses, thus can encode polymorphism modulators that are not anticipated from the plane sequence, with important implications for understanding virus assembly and evolution.
Project description:Rotavirus, a cause of pediatric gastroenteritis, has a genome consisting of 11 segments of double-stranded (ds)RNA surrounded by a triple-layered protein capsid. The rotavirus RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, VP1, synthesizes both dsRNA and plus-strand RNA (+RNA) within subviral particles. Structural analyses of the rotavirus capsid and polymerase, combined with functional studies of purified capsid proteins, indicate that the inner capsid protein controls the initiation of RNA synthesis by VP1. Whether VP1 directs dsRNA versus +RNA synthesis may be regulated by the impact of the viral RNA capping enzyme on the position of the polymerase plug, a flexible element that inserts into one of the polymerase's RNA exit tunnels. This review discusses recent findings and ideas into the mechanisms used by rotavirus capsid proteins to control the activities of its viral polymerase and to coordinate RNA synthesis with the assembly of virus particles.
Project description:Human noroviruses, the most common cause of nonbacterial gastroenteritis, are characterized by high infectivity rate, low infectious dose, and unusually high stability outside the host. However, human norovirus research is hindered by the lack of a cell culture system and a small animal model of infection. Norwalk virus (NV) is the prototype strain of human noroviruses. We report here replication of NV viral RNA and its packaging into virus particles in mammalian cells by intracellular expression of native forms of NV viral RNA devoid of extraneous nucleotide sequences derived from the expression vector by the use of replication-deficient vaccinia virus MVA encoding the bacteriophage T7 RNA polymerase (MVA/T7). Expressed genomic RNA was found to replicate; NV subgenomic RNA was transcribed from genomic RNA by use of NV nonstructural proteins expressed from genomic RNA and was subsequently translated into NV capsid protein VP1. Viral genomic RNA was packaged into virus particles generated in mammalian cells. The cesium chloride (CsCl) density gradient profile of virus particles containing genomic RNA was similar to that of NV purified from stool. These observations indicate that the NV cDNA constructed here is a biologically infectious clone, and that mammalian cells have the ability to replicate NV genomic RNA. This work establishes a mammalian cell-based system for analysis of human norovirus replication and, thus, makes it feasible to investigate antiviral agents in mammalian cells.
Project description:Norovirus is a major causative pathogen of nonbacterial acute gastroenteritis. Despite the sequence similarity among various strains, noroviruses of different genotypes show different antigenicities and different binding profiles to histo-blood group antigens (HBGAs). To reveal the relationships between the structure of the capsid and the diversity in antigenicity and the HBGA-binding profile, virus-like particles (VLPs) of the Chiba strain that belongs to genogroup I, genotype 4 were crystallized for X-ray structural analysis. Diffraction data were collected and processed at 3.2?Å resolution. The crystal belonged to space group I222, with unit-cell parameters a = 290.0, b = 310.4 c = 350.4?Å. The possible packing model indicated that the diameter of the particle was 280?Å, which was much smaller than the 38?nm VLPs of Norovirus Norwalk strain (NV) with T = 3 icosahedral symmetry and composed of 180 VP1 proteins. The structure was solved by molecular replacement using the structure of the VP1 pentamer of NV 38?nm VLPs as a search model, revealing that the VLPs were smaller particles: 23?nm VLPs with T = 1 icosahedral symmetry, the structure of which has not yet been analyzed at high resolution. The structure of 23?nm VLPs will enable the two different VLPs of Norovirus to be compared, which will provide important information for understanding the structural basis of capsid formation.
Project description:Upon attachment to their respective receptor, human rhinoviruses (HRVs) are internalized into the host cell via different pathways but undergo similar structural changes. This ultimately results in the delivery of the viral RNA into the cytoplasm for replication. To improve our understanding of the conformational modifications associated with the release of the viral genome, we have determined the X-ray structure at 3.0 Å resolution of the end-stage of HRV2 uncoating, the empty capsid. The structure shows important conformational changes in the capsid protomer. In particular, a hinge movement around the hydrophobic pocket of VP1 allows a coordinated shift of VP2 and VP3. This overall displacement forces a reorganization of the inter-protomer interfaces, resulting in a particle expansion and in the opening of new channels in the capsid core. These new breaches in the capsid, opening one at the base of the canyon and the second at the particle two-fold axes, might act as gates for the externalization of the VP1 N-terminus and the extrusion of the viral RNA, respectively. The structural comparison between native and empty HRV2 particles unveils a number of pH-sensitive amino acid residues, conserved in rhinoviruses, which participate in the structural rearrangements involved in the uncoating process.
Project description:Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68) belongs to a group of enteroviruses that contain a single positive-sense RNA genome surrounded by an icosahedral capsid. Like common cold viruses, EV-D68 mainly causes respiratory infections and is acid-labile. The molecular mechanism by which the acid-sensitive EV-D68 virions uncoat and deliver their genome into a host cell is unknown. Using cryoelectron microscopy (cryo-EM), we have determined the structures of the full native virion and an uncoating intermediate [the A (altered) particle] of EV-D68 at 2.2- and 2.7-Å resolution, respectively. These structures showed that acid treatment of EV-D68 leads to particle expansion, externalization of the viral protein VP1 N termini from the capsid interior, and formation of pores around the icosahedral twofold axes through which the viral RNA can exit. Moreover, because of the low stability of EV-D68, cryo-EM analyses of a mixed population of particles at neutral pH and following acid treatment demonstrated the involvement of multiple structural intermediates during virus uncoating. Among these, a previously undescribed state, the expanded 1 ("E1") particle, shows a majority of internal regions (e.g., the VP1 N termini) to be ordered as in the full native virion. Thus, the E1 particle acts as an intermediate in the transition from full native virions to A particles. Together, the present work delineates the pathway of EV-D68 uncoating and provides the molecular basis for the acid lability of EV-D68 and of the related common cold viruses.
Project description:The foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) capsid protein precursor, P1-2A, is cleaved by 3C(pro) to generate VP0, VP3, VP1, and the peptide 2A. The capsid proteins self-assemble into empty capsid particles or viruses which do not contain 2A. In a cell culture-adapted strain of FMDV (O1 Manisa [Lindholm]), three different amino acid substitutions (E83K, S134C, and K210E) were identified within the VP1 region of the P1-2A precursor compared to the field strain (wild type [wt]). Expression of the O1 Manisa P1-2A (wt or with the S134C substitution in VP1) plus 3C(pro), using a transient expression system, resulted in efficient capsid protein production and self-assembly of empty capsid particles. Removal of the 2A peptide from the capsid protein precursor had no effect on capsid protein processing or particle assembly. However, modification of E83K alone abrogated particle assembly with no apparent effect on protein processing. Interestingly, the K210E substitution, close to the VP1/2A junction, completely blocked processing by 3C(pro) at this cleavage site, but efficient assembly of "self-tagged" empty capsid particles, containing the uncleaved VP1-2A, was observed. These self-tagged particles behaved like the unmodified empty capsids in antigen enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays and integrin receptor binding assays. Furthermore, mutant viruses with uncleaved VP1-2A could be rescued in cells from full-length FMDV RNA transcripts encoding the K210E substitution in VP1. Thus, cleavage of the VP1/2A junction is not essential for virus viability. The production of such engineered self-tagged empty capsid particles may facilitate their purification for use as diagnostic reagents and vaccines.
Project description:Elucidation of the molecular basis of the stability of foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) particles is relevant to understand key aspects of the virus cycle. Residue N17D in VP1, located at the capsid inner surface, modulates the resistance of FMDV virion to dissociation and inactivation at acidic pH. Here we have studied whether the virion-stabilizing effect of amino acid substitution VP1 N17D may be mediated by the alteration of electrostatic charge at this position and/or the presence of the viral RNA. Substitutions that either introduced a positive charge (R,K) or preserved neutrality (A) at position VP1 17 led to increased sensitivity of virions to inactivation at acidic pH, while replacement by negatively charged residues (D,E) increased the resistance of virions to acidic pH. The role in virion stability of viral RNA was addressed using FMDV empty capsids that have a virtually unchanged structure compared to the capsid in the RNA-filled virion, but that are considerably more resistant to acidic pH than WT virions, supporting a virion-destabilizing effect of the RNA. Remarkably, no differences were observed in the resistance to dissociation at acidic pH between the WT empty capsids and those harboring replacement N17D. Thus, the virion-destabilizing effect of viral RNA at acidic pH can be partially restored by introducing negatively charged residues at position VP1 N17.