Artificial hybrids of influenza A virus RNA polymerase reveal PA subunit modulates its thermal sensitivity.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Influenza A virus can infect a variety of different hosts and therefore has to adapt to different host temperatures for its efficient viral replication. Influenza virus codes for an RNA polymerase of 3 subunits: PB1, PB2 and PA. It is well known that the PB2 subunit is involved in temperature sensitivity, such as cold adaptation. On the other hand the role of the PA subunit in thermal sensitivity is still poorly understood. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: To test which polymerase subunit(s) were involved in thermal stress we reconstituted artificial hybrids of influenza RNA polymerase in ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complexes and measured steady-state levels of mRNA, cRNA and vRNA at different temperatures. The PA subunit was involved in modulating RNP activity under thermal stress. Residue 114 of the PA subunit was an important determinant of this activity. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: These findings suggested that influenza A virus may acquire an RNA polymerase adapted to different body temperatures of the host by reassortment of the RNA polymerase genes.
Project description:The ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complex is the essential transcription-replication machinery of the influenza virus. It is composed of the trimeric polymerase (PA, PB1 and PB2), nucleoprotein (NP) and RNA. Elucidating the molecular mechanisms of RNP assembly is central to our understanding of the control of viral transcription and replication and the dependence of these processes on the host cell. In this report, we show, by RNP reconstitution assays and co-immunoprecipitation, that the interaction between NP and polymerase is crucial for the function of the RNP. The functional association of NP and polymerase involves the C-terminal '627' domain of PB2 and it requires NP arginine-150 and either lysine-627 or arginine-630 of PB2. Using surface plasmon resonance, we demonstrate that the interaction between NP and PB2 takes place without the involvement of RNA. At 33, 37 and 41°C in mammalian cells, more positive charges at aa. 627 and 630 of PB2 lead to stronger NP-polymerase interaction, which directly correlates with the higher RNP activity. In conclusion, our study provides new information on the NP-PB2 interaction and shows that the strength of NP-polymerase interaction and the resulting RNP activity are promoted by the positive charges at aa. 627 and 630 of PB2.
Project description:The RNA genome of influenza A viruses is transcribed and replicated by the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, composed of the subunits PA, PB1, and PB2. High-resolution structural data revealed that the polymerase assembles into a central polymerase core and several auxiliary highly flexible, protruding domains. The auxiliary PB2 cap-binding and the PA endonuclease domains are both involved in cap snatching, but the role of the auxiliary PB2 627 domain, implicated in host range restriction of influenza A viruses, is still poorly understood. In this study, we used structure-guided truncations of the PB2 subunit to show that a PB2 subunit lacking the 627 domain accumulates in the cell nucleus and assembles into a heterotrimeric polymerase with PB1 and PA. Furthermore, we showed that a recombinant viral polymerase lacking the PB2 627 domain is able to carry out cap snatching, cap-dependent transcription initiation, and cap-independent ApG dinucleotide extension in vitro, indicating that the PB2 627 domain of the influenza virus RNA polymerase is not involved in core catalytic functions of the polymerase. However, in a cellular context, the 627 domain is essential for both transcription and replication. In particular, we showed that the PB2 627 domain is essential for the accumulation of the cRNA replicative intermediate in infected cells. Together, these results further our understanding of the role of the PB2 627 domain in transcription and replication of the influenza virus RNA genome.IMPORTANCE Influenza A viruses are a major global health threat, not only causing disease in both humans and birds but also placing significant strains on economies worldwide. Avian influenza A virus polymerases typically do not function efficiently in mammalian hosts and require adaptive mutations to restore polymerase activity. These adaptations include mutations in the 627 domain of the PB2 subunit of the viral polymerase, but it still remains to be established how these mutations enable host adaptation on a molecular level. In this report, we characterize the role of the 627 domain in polymerase function and offer insights into the replication mechanism of influenza A viruses.
Project description:The RNA-dependent RNA polymerase of influenza virus consists of three subunits, PB1, PB2, and PA, and synthesizes three kinds of viral RNAs, vRNA, cRNA, and mRNA. PB1 is a catalytic subunit; PB2 recognizes the cap structure for generation of the primer for transcription; and PA is thought to be involved in viral RNA replication. However, the process of polymerase complex assembly and the exact nature of polymerase complexes involved in synthesis of the three different RNA species are not yet clear. ts53 virus is a temperature-sensitive (ts) mutant derived from A/WSN/33 (A. Sugiura, M. Ueda, K. Tobita, and C. Enomoto, Virology 65:363-373, 1975). We confirmed that the mRNA synthesis level of ts53 remains unaffected at the nonpermissive temperature, whereas vRNA synthesis is largely reduced. Sequencing of the gene encoding ts53 PA and recombinant virus rescue experiments revealed that an amino acid change from Leu to Pro at amino acid position 226 is causative of temperature sensitivity. By glycerol density gradient analyses of nuclear extracts prepared from wild-type virus-infected cells, we found that polymerase proteins sediment in three fractions: one (H fraction) consists of RNP complexes, another (M fraction) contains active polymerases but not viral RNA, and the other (L fraction) contains inactive forms of polymerases. Pulse-chase experiments showed that polymerases in the L fraction are converted to those in the M fraction. In ts53-infected cells, polymerases accumulated in the L fraction. These results strongly suggest that PA is involved in the assembly of functional viral RNA polymerase complexes from their inactive intermediates.
Project description:The influenza virus PB1 protein is the core subunit of the heterotrimeric polymerase complex (PA, PB1 and PB2) in which PB1 is responsible for catalyzing RNA polymerization and binding to the viral RNA promoter. Among the three subunits, PB1 is the least known subunit so far in terms of its structural information. In this work, by integrating template-based structural modeling approach with all known sequence and functional information about the PB1 protein, we constructed a modeled structure of PB1. Based on this model, we performed mutagenesis analysis for the key residues that constitute the RNA template binding and catalytic (TBC) channel in an RNP reconstitution system. The results correlated well with the model and further identified new residues of PB1 that are critical for RNA synthesis. Moreover, we derived 5 peptides from the sequence of PB1 that form the TBC channel and 4 of them can inhibit the viral RNA polymerase activity. Interestingly, we found that one of them named PB1(491-515) can inhibit influenza virus replication by disrupting viral RNA promoter binding activity of polymerase. Therefore, this study has not only deepened our understanding of structure-function relationship of PB1, but also promoted the development of novel therapeutics against influenza virus.
Project description:The influenza virus polymerase is formed by the PB1, PB2 and PA subunits and is required for virus transcription and replication in the nucleus of infected cells. As PB2 is a relevant host-range determinant we expressed a TAP-tagged PB2 in human cells and isolated intracellular complexes. Alpha-importin was identified as a PB2-associated factor by proteomic analyses. To study the relevance of this interaction for virus replication we mutated the PB2 NLS and analysed the phenotype of mutant subunits, polymerase complexes and RNPs. While mutant PB2 proteins showed reduced nuclear accumulation, they formed polymerase complexes normally when co expressed with PB1 and PA. However, mutant RNPs generated with a viral CAT replicon showed up to hundred-fold reduced CAT accumulation. Rescue of nuclear localisation of mutant PB2 by insertion of an additional SV40 TAg-derived NLS did not revert the mutant phenotype of RNPs. Furthermore, determination of recombinant RNP accumulation in vivo indicated that PB2 NLS mutations drastically reduced virus RNA replication. These results indicate that, above and beyond its role in nuclear accumulation, PB2 interaction with alpha-importins is required for virus RNA replication. To ascertain whether PB2-alpha-importin binding could contribute to the adaptation of H5N1 avian viruses to man, their association in vivo was determined. Human alpha importin isoforms associated efficiently to PB2 protein of an H3N2 human virus but bound to diminished and variable extents to PB2 from H5N1 avian or human strains, suggesting that the function of alpha importin during RNA replication is important for the adaptation of avian viruses to the human host.
Project description:The influenza A virus RNA-dependent RNA polymerase consists of three subunits-PB1, PB2, and PA. The PB1 subunit is the catalytically active polymerase, catalyzing the sequential addition of nucleotides to the growing RNA chain. The PB2 subunit is a cap-binding protein that plays a role in initiation of viral mRNA synthesis by recruiting capped RNA primers. The function of PA is unknown, but previous studies of temperature-sensitive viruses with mutations in PA have implied a role in viral RNA replication. In this report we demonstrate that the PA subunit is required not only for replication but also for transcription of viral RNA. We mutated evolutionarily conserved amino acids to alanines in the C-terminal region of the PA protein, since the C-terminal region shows the highest degree of conservation between PA proteins of influenza A, B, and C viruses. We tested the effects of these mutations on the ability of RNA polymerase to transcribe and replicate viral RNA. We also tested the compatibility of these mutations with viral viability by using reverse-genetics techniques. A mutant with a histidine-to-alanine change at position 510 (H510A) in the PA protein of influenza A/WSN/33 virus showed a differential effect on transcription and replication. This mutant was able to perform replication (vRNA-->cRNA-->vRNA), but its transcriptional activity (vRNA-->mRNA) was negligible. In vitro analyses of the H510A recombinant polymerase, by using transcription initiation, vRNA-binding, capped-RNA-binding, and endonuclease assays, suggest that the primary defect of this mutant polymerase is in its endonuclease activity.
Project description:Influenza A virus (IAV) replicates in the upper respiratory tract of humans at 33 degrees C and in the intestinal tract of birds at close to 41 degrees C. The viral RNA polymerase complex comprises three subunits (PA, PB1 and PB2) and plays an important role in host adaptation. We therefore developed an in vitro system to examine the temperature sensitivity of IAV RNA polymerase complexes from different origins. Complexes were prepared from human lung epithelial cells (A549) using a novel adenoviral expression system. Affinity-purified complexes were generated that contained either all three subunits (PA/PB1/PB2) from the A/Viet/1203/04 H5N1 virus (H/H/H) or the A/WSN/33 H1N1 strain (W/W/W). We also prepared chimeric complexes in which the PB2 subunit was exchanged (H/H/W, W/W/H) or substituted with an avian PB2 from the A/chicken/Nanchang/3-120/01 H3N2 strain (W/W/N). All complexes were functional in transcription, cap-binding and endonucleolytic activity. Complexes containing the H5N1 or Nanchang PB2 protein retained transcriptional activity over a broad temperature range (30-42 degrees C). In contrast, complexes containing the WSN PB2 protein lost activity at elevated temperatures (39 degrees C or higher). The E627K mutation in the avian PB2 was not required for this effect. Finally, the avian PB2 subunit was shown to confer enhanced stability to the WSN 3P complex. These results show that PB2 plays an important role in regulating the temperature optimum for IAV RNA polymerase activity, possibly due to effects on the functional stability of the 3P complex.
Project description:The influenza A virus RNA-dependent RNA polymerase is a heterotrimeric complex of polymerase basic protein 1 (PB1), PB2, and polymerase acidic protein (PA) subunits. It performs transcription and replication of the viral RNA genome in the nucleus of infected cells. We have identified a nuclear import factor, Ran binding protein 5 (RanBP5), also known as karyopherin beta3, importin beta3, or importin 5, as an interactor of the PB1 subunit. RanBP5 interacted with either PB1 alone or with a PB1-PA dimer but not with a PB1-PB2 dimer or the trimeric complex. The interaction between RanBP5 and PB1-PA was disrupted by RanGTP in vitro, allowing PB2 to bind to the PB1-PA dimer to form a functional trimeric RNA polymerase complex. We propose a model in which RanBP5 acts as an import factor for the newly synthesized polymerase by targeting the PB1-PA dimer to the nucleus. In agreement with this model, small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated knock-down of RanBP5 inhibited the nuclear accumulation of the PB1-PA dimer. Moreover, siRNA knock-down of RanBP5 resulted in the delayed accumulation of viral RNAs in infected cells, confirming that RanBP5 plays a biological role during the influenza virus life cycle.
Project description:Influenza viruses are severe human pathogens that pose persistent threat to public health. Each year more people die of influenza virus infection than that of breast cancer. Due to the limited efficacy associated with current influenza vaccines, as well as emerging drug resistance from small molecule antiviral drugs, there is a clear need to develop new antivirals with novel mechanisms of action. The influenza virus polymerase complex has become a promising target for the development of the next-generation of antivirals for several reasons. Firstly, the influenza virus polymerase, which forms a heterotrimeric complex that consists of PA, PB1, and PB2 subunits, is highly conserved. Secondly, both individual polymerase subunit (PA, PB1, and PB2) and inter-subunit interactions (PA-PB1, PB1- PB2) represent promising drug targets. Lastly, growing insight into the structure and function of the polymerase complex has spearheaded the structure-guided design of new polymerase inhibitors. In this review, we highlight recent progress in drug discovery and assay development targeting the influenza virus polymerase complex and discuss their therapeutic potentials.
Project description:Currently, many strains of influenza A virus have developed resistance against anti-influenza drugs, and it is essential to find new chemicals to combat this virus. The influenza polymerase with three proteins, PA, PB1 and PB2, is a crucial component of the viral ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complex. Here, we report the identification of a hit compound 221 by surface plasmon resonance (SPR) direct binding screening on the C-terminal of PA (PAC). Compound 221 can subdue influenza RNP activities and attenuate influenza virus replication. Its analogs were subsequently investigated and twelve of them could attenuate RNP activities. One of the analogs, compound 312, impeded influenza A virus replication in Madin-Darby canine kidney cells with IC50 of 27.0?±?16.8??M. In vitro interaction assays showed that compound 312 bound directly to PAC with Kd of about 40??M. Overall, the identification of novel PAC-targeting compounds provides new ground for drug design against influenza virus in the future.