Closterovirus bipolar virion: evidence for initiation of assembly by minor coat protein and its restriction to the genomic RNA 5' region.
ABSTRACT: The long flexuous virions of the Closteroviridae have a unique bipolar architecture incorporating two coat proteins, with most of the helical nucleocapsid encapsidated by the major coat protein (CP) and a small portion of one end encapsidated by the minor coat protein (CPm). It is not known whether CPm encapsidates the genomic RNA and, if so, which end and what effects transition between the two coat proteins. Two other virus-encoded proteins, an HSP70 homolog (HSP70h) and an approximately 61-kDa protein, are required to augment virion assembly. In this work, we examine the in vivo encapsidation of Citrus tristeza virus by its CPm in the absence of CP. In the absence of other assembly-related proteins, CPm protected a family of 5' coterminal RNAs, apparently because of pausing at different locations along the genomic RNA. Most of the nucleocapsids formed by CPm were short, but a few were full-length and infectious. Mutations within the 5' nontranslated region demonstrated that the CPm origin of assembly overlaps the previously described conserved stem-and-loop structures that function as a cis-acting element required for RNA synthesis. Thus, in the absence of CP, the CPm encapsidation is initiated from the 5' end of the genomic RNA. Coexpression of HSP70h and the p61 protein with CPm in protoplasts restricted encapsidation to the 5' approximately 630 nucleotides, which is close to the normal boundary of the bipolar virion, whereas the presence of either HSP70h or the p61 protein alone did not limit encapsidation by CPm.
Project description:Potato virus A (PVA) is a single-stranded positive-sense RNA virus and a member of the family Potyviridae. The PVA coat protein (CP) has an intrinsic capacity to self-assemble into filamentous virus-like particles, but the mechanism responsible for the initiation of viral RNA encapsidation in vivo remains unclear. Apart from virion assembly, PVA CP is also involved in the inhibition of viral RNA translation. In this study, we show that CP inhibits PVA RNA translation in a dose-dependent manner, through a mechanism involving the CP-encoding region. Analysis of this region, however, failed to identify any RNA secondary structure(s) preferentially recognized by CP, suggesting that the inhibition depends on CP-CP rather than CP-RNA interactions. In agreement with this possibility, insertion of an in-frame stop codon upstream of the CP sequence led to a marked decrease in the inhibition of viral RNA translation. Based on these results, we propose a model in which the cotranslational interactions between excess CP accumulating in trans and CP translated from viral RNA in cis are required to initiate the translational repression. This model suggests a mechanism for how viral RNA can be sequestered from translation and specifically selected for encapsidation at the late stages of viral infection.The main functions of the CP during potyvirus infection are to protect viral RNA from degradation and to transport it locally, systemically, and from host to host. Although virion assembly is a key step in the potyviral infectious cycle, little is known about how it is initiated and how viral RNA is selected for encapsidation. The results presented here suggest that CP-CP rather than CP-RNA interactions are predominantly involved in the sequestration of viral RNA away from translation. We propose that the cotranslational nature of these interactions may represent a mechanism for the selection of viral RNA for encapsidation. A better understanding of the mechanism of virion assembly may lead to development of crops resistant to potyviruses at the level of viral RNA encapsidation, thereby reducing the detrimental effects of potyvirus infections on food production.
Project description:Next-generation sequence analysis of virus-like particles (VLPs) produced during agroinfiltration of cucumber necrosis virus (CNV) coat protein (CP) and of authentic CNV virions was conducted to assess if host RNAs can be encapsidated by CNV CP. VLPs containing host RNAs were found to be produced during agroinfiltration, accumulating to approximately 1/60 the level that CNV virions accumulated during infection. VLPs contained a variety of host RNA species, including the major rRNAs as well as cytoplasmic, chloroplast, and mitochondrial mRNAs. The most predominant host RNA species encapsidated in VLPs were chloroplast encoded, consistent with the efficient targeting of CNV CP to chloroplasts during agroinfiltration. Interestingly, droplet digital PCR analysis showed that the CNV CP mRNA expressed during agroinfiltration was the most efficiently encapsidated mRNA, suggesting that the CNV CP open reading frame may contain a high-affinity site or sites for CP binding and thus contribute to the specificity of CNV RNA encapsidation. Approximately 0.09% to 0.7% of the RNA derived from authentic CNV virions contained host RNA, with chloroplast RNA again being the most prominent species. This is consistent with our previous finding that a small proportion of CNV CP enters chloroplasts during the infection process and highlights the possibility that chloroplast targeting is a significant aspect of CNV infection. Remarkably, 6 to 8 of the top 10 most efficiently encapsidated nucleus-encoded RNAs in CNV virions correspond to retrotransposon or retrotransposon-like RNA sequences. Thus, CNV could potentially serve as a vehicle for horizontal transmission of retrotransposons to new hosts and thereby significantly influence genome evolution.Viruses predominantly encapsidate their own virus-related RNA species due to the possession of specific sequences and/or structures on viral RNA which serve as high-affinity binding sites for the coat protein. In this study, we show, using next-generation sequence analysis, that CNV also encapsidates host RNA species, which account for ?0.1% of the RNA packaged in CNV particles. The encapsidated host RNAs predominantly include chloroplast RNAs, reinforcing previous observations that CNV CP enters chloroplasts during infection. Remarkably, the most abundantly encapsidated cytoplasmic mRNAs consisted of retrotransposon-like RNA sequences, similar to findings recently reported for flock house virus (A. Routh, T. Domitrovic, and J. E. Johnson, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 109:1907-1912, 2012). Encapsidation of retrotransposon sequences may contribute to their horizontal transmission should CNV virions carrying retrotransposons infect a new host. Such an event could lead to large-scale genomic changes in a naive plant host, thus facilitating host evolutionary novelty.
Project description:The four brome mosaic virus (BMV) RNAs (RNA1 to RNA4) are encapsidated in three distinct virions that have different disassembly rates in infection. The mechanism for the differential release of BMV RNAs from virions is unknown, since 180 copies of the same coat protein (CP) encapsidate each of the BMV genomic RNAs. Using mass spectrometry, we found that the BMV CP contains a complex pattern of posttranslational modifications. Treatment with phosphatase was found to not significantly affect the stability of the virions containing RNA1 but significantly impacted the stability of the virions that encapsidated BMV RNA2 and RNA3/4. Cryo-electron microscopy reconstruction revealed dramatic structural changes in the capsid and the encapsidated RNA. A phosphomimetic mutation in the flexible N-terminal arm of the CP increased BMV RNA replication and virion production. The degree of phosphorylation modulated the interaction of CP with the encapsidated RNA and the release of three of the BMV RNAs. UV cross-linking and immunoprecipitation methods coupled to high-throughput sequencing experiments showed that phosphorylation of the BMV CP can impact binding to RNAs in the virions, including sequences that contain regulatory motifs for BMV RNA gene expression and replication. Phosphatase-treated virions affected the timing of CP expression and viral RNA replication in plants. The degree of phosphorylation decreased when the plant hosts were grown at an elevated temperature. These results show that phosphorylation of the capsid modulates BMV infection.How icosahedral viruses regulate the release of viral RNA into the host is not well understood. The selective release of viral RNA can regulate the timing of replication and gene expression. Brome mosaic virus (BMV) is an RNA virus, and its three genomic RNAs are encapsidated in separate virions. Through proteomic, structural, and biochemical analyses, this work shows that posttranslational modifications, specifically, phosphorylation, on the capsid protein regulate the capsid-RNA interaction and the stability of the virions and affect viral gene expression. Mutational analysis confirmed that changes in modification affected virion stability and the timing of viral infection. The mechanism for modification of the virion has striking parallels to the mechanism of regulation of chromatin packaging by nucleosomes.
Project description:The coat protein of positive-stranded RNA viruses often contains a positively charged tail that extends toward the center of the capsid and interacts with the viral genome. Electrostatic interaction between the tail and the RNA has been postulated as a major force in virus assembly and stabilization. The goal of this work is to examine the correlation between electrostatic interaction and amount of RNA packaged in the tripartite Brome Mosaic Virus (BMV). Nanoindentation experiment using atomic force microscopy showed that the stiffness of BMV virions with different RNAs varied by a range that is 10-fold higher than that would be predicted by electrostatics. BMV mutants with decreased positive charges encapsidated lower amounts of RNA while mutants with increased positive charges packaged additional RNAs up to ?900 nt. However, the extra RNAs included truncated BMV RNAs, an additional copy of RNA4, potential cellular RNAs, or a combination of the three, indicating that change in the charge of the capsid could result in several different outcomes in RNA encapsidation. In addition, mutant with specific arginines changed to lysines in the capsid also exhibited defects in the specific encapsidation of BMV RNA4. The experimental results indicate that electrostatics is a major component in RNA encapsidation but was unable to account for all of the observed effects on RNA encapsidation. Thermodynamic modeling incorporating the electrostatics was able to predict the approximate length of the RNA to be encapsidated for the majority of mutant virions, but not for a mutant with extreme clustered positive charges. Cryo-electron microscopy of virions that encapsidated an additional copy of RNA4 revealed that, despite the increase in RNA encapsidated, the capsid structure was minimally changed. These results experimentally demonstrated the impact of electrostatics and additional restraints in the encapsidation of BMV RNAs, which could be applicable to other viruses.
Project description:Numerous pathogens of humans, animals, and plants are transmitted by specific arthropod vectors. However, understanding the mechanisms governing these pathogen-vector interactions is hampered, in part, by the lack of easy-to-use analytical tools. We investigated whitefly transmission of Lettuce infectious yellows virus (LIYV) by using a unique immunofluorescent localization approach in which we fed virions or recombinant virus capsid components to whiteflies, followed by feeding them antibodies to the virions or capsid components, respectively. Fluorescent signals, indicating the retention of virions, were localized in the anterior foregut or cibarium of a whitefly vector biotype but not within those of a whitefly nonvector biotype. Retention of virions in these locations strongly corresponded with the whitefly vector transmission of LIYV. When four recombinant LIYV capsid components were individually fed to whitefly vectors, significantly more whiteflies retained the recombinant minor coat protein (CPm). As demonstrated previously and in the present study, whitefly vectors failed to transmit virions preincubated with anti-CPm antibodies but transmitted virions preincubated with antibodies recognizing the major coat protein (CP). Correspondingly, the number of insects that specifically retained virions preincubated with anti-CPm antibodies were significantly reduced compared with those that specifically retained virions preincubated with anti-CP antibodies. Notably, a transmission-defective CPm mutant was deficient in specific virion retention, whereas the CPm-restored virus showed WT levels of specific virion retention and transmission. These data provide strong evidence that transmission of LIYV is determined by a CPm-mediated virion retention mechanism in the anterior foregut or cibarium of whitefly vectors.
Project description:RNA viruses within a host exist as dynamic distributions of closely related mutants and recombinant genomes. These closely related mutants and recombinant genomes, which are subjected to a continuous process of genetic variation, competition, and selection, act as a unit of selection, termed viral quasispecies. Characterization of mutant spectra within hosts is essential for understanding viral evolution and pathogenesis resulting from the cooperative behavior of viral mutants within viral quasispecies. Furthermore, a detailed analysis of viral variability within hosts is needed to design control strategies, because viral quasispecies are reservoirs of viral variants that potentially can emerge with increased virulence or altered tropism. In this work, we report a detailed analysis of within-host viral populations in 13 field isolates of the bipartite Tomato chlorosis virus (ToCV) (genus Crinivirus, family Closteroviridae). The intraisolate genetic structure was analyzed based on sequencing data for 755 molecular clones distributed in four genomic regions within the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RNA1) and Hsp70h, CP, and CPm (RNA2) open reading frames. Our results showed that populations of ToCV within a host plant have a heterogeneous and complex genetic structure similar to that described for animal and plant RNA viral quasispecies. Moreover, the structures of these populations clearly differ depending on the RNA segment considered, being more complex for RNA1 (encoding replication-associated proteins) than for RNA2 (encoding encapsidation-, systemic-movement-, and insect transmission-relevant proteins). These results support the idea that, in multicomponent RNA viruses, function can generate profound differences in the genetic structures of the different genomic segments.
Project description:Using RNA-coat protein crosslinking we have shown that the principal RNA recognition surface on the interior of infectious MS2 virions overlaps with the known peptides that bind the high affinity translational operator, TR, within the phage genome. The data also reveal the sequences of genomic fragments in contact with the coat protein shell. These show remarkable overlap with previous predictions based on the hypothesis that virion assembly is mediated by multiple sequences-specific contacts at RNA sites termed Packaging Signals (PSs). These PSs are variations on the TR stem-loop sequence and secondary structure. They act co-operatively to regulate the dominant assembly pathway and ensure cognate RNA encapsidation. In MS2, they also trigger conformational change in the dimeric capsomere creating the A/B quasi-conformer, 60 of which are needed to complete the T=3 capsid. This is the most compelling demonstration to date that this ssRNA virus, and by implications potentially very many of them, assemble via a PS-mediated assembly mechanism.
Project description:Satellite tobacco necrosis virus 1 (STNV-1) is a model system for in vitro RNA encapsidation studies (N. Patel, E. C. Dykeman, R. H. A. Coutts, G. P. Lomonossoff, et al., Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 112:2227-2232, 2015, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1420812112; N. Patel, E. Wroblewski, G. Leonov, S. E. V. Phillips, et al., Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 114:12255-12260, 2017, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1706951114), leading to the identification of degenerate packaging signals (PSs) proposed to be involved in the recognition of its genome by the capsid protein (CP). The aim of the present work was to investigate whether these putative PSs can confer selective packaging of STNV-1 RNA in vivo and to assess the prospects of using decoy RNAs in antiviral therapy. We have developed an in planta packaging assay based on the transient expression of STNV-1 CP and have assessed the ability of the resulting virus-like particles (VLPs) to encapsidate mutant STNV-1 RNAs expected to have different encapsidation potential based on in vitro studies. The results revealed that >90% of the encapsidated RNAs are host derived, although there is some selectivity of packaging for STNV-1 RNA and certain host RNAs. Comparison of the packaging efficiencies of mutant STNV-1 RNAs showed that they are encapsidated mainly according to their abundance within the cells, rather than the presence or absence of the putative PSs previously identified from in vitro studies. In contrast, subsequent infection experiments demonstrated that host RNAs represent only <1% of virion content. Although selective encapsidation of certain host RNAs was noted, no direct correlation could be made between this preference and the presence of potential PSs in the host RNA sequences. Overall, the data illustrate that the differences in RNA packaging efficiency identified through in vitro studies are insufficient to explain the specific packaging of STNV-1 RNA.IMPORTANCE Viruses preferentially encapsidate their own genomic RNA, sometimes as a result of the presence of clearly defined packaging signals (PSs) in their genome sequence. Recently, a novel form of short degenerate PSs has been proposed (N. Patel, E. C. Dykeman, R. H. A. Coutts, G. P. Lomonossoff, et al., Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 112:2227-2232, 2015, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1420812112; N. Patel, E. Wroblewski, G. Leonov, S. E. V. Phillips, et al., Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 114:12255-12260, 2017, https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1706951114) using satellite tobacco necrosis virus 1 (STNV-1) as a model system for in vitro studies. It has been suggested that competing with these putative PSs may constitute a novel therapeutic approach against pathogenic single-stranded RNA viruses. Our work demonstrates that the previously identified PSs have no discernible significance for the selective packaging of STNV-1 in vivo in the presence and absence of competition or replication: viral sequences are encapsidated mostly on the basis of their abundance within the cell, while encapsidation of host RNAs also occurs. Nevertheless, the putative PSs identified in STNV-1 RNA may still have applications in bionanotechnology, such as the in vitro selective packaging of RNA molecules.
Project description:Understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in plant virus-vector interactions is essential for the development of effective control measures for aphid-vectored epidemic plant diseases. The coat proteins (CP) are the main component of the viral capsids, and they are implicated in practically every stage of the viral infection cycle. Pea enation mosaic virus 1 (PEMV1, Enamovirus, Luteoviridae) and Pea enation mosaic virus 2 (PEMV2, Umbravirus, Tombusviridae) are two RNA viruses in an obligate symbiosis causing the pea enation mosaic disease. Sixteen mutant viruses were generated with mutations in different domains of the CP to evaluate the role of specific amino acids in viral replication, virion assembly, long-distance movement in Pisum sativum, and aphid transmission. Twelve mutant viruses were unable to assemble but were able to replicate in inoculated leaves, move long-distance, and express the CP in newly infected leaves. Four mutant viruses produced virions, but three were not transmissible by the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum. Three-dimensional modeling of the PEMV CP, combined with biological assays for virion assembly and aphid transmission, allowed for a model of the assembly of PEMV coat protein subunits.
Project description:Satellite tobacco mosaic virus (STMV) is a T = 1 icosahedral virus with a single-stranded RNA genome. It is widely accepted that the RNA genome plays an important structural role during assembly of the STMV virion. While the encapsidated form of the RNA has been extensively studied, less is known about the structure of the free RNA, aside from a purported tRNA-like structure at the 3' end. Here we use selective 2'-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension (SHAPE) analysis to examine the secondary structure of in vitro transcribed STMV RNA. The predicted secondary structure is unusual in the sense that it is highly extended, which could be significant for protecting the RNA from degradation. The SHAPE data are also consistent with the previously predicted tRNA-like fold at the 3' end of the molecule, which is also known to hinder degradation. Our data are not consistent with the secondary structure proposed for the encapsidated RNA by Schroeder et al., suggesting that, if the Schroeder structure is correct, either the RNA is packaged as it emerges from the replication complex, or the RNA undergoes extensive refolding upon encapsidation. We also consider the alternative, i.e., that the structure of the encapsidated STMV RNA might be the same as the in vitro structure presented here, and we examine how this structure might be organized in the virus. This possibility is not rigorously ruled out by the available data, so it remains open to examination by experiment.