Identification and targeting of an interaction between a tyrosine motif within hepatitis C virus core protein and AP2M1 essential for viral assembly.
ABSTRACT: Novel therapies are urgently needed against hepatitis C virus infection (HCV), a major global health problem. The current model of infectious virus production suggests that HCV virions are assembled on or near the surface of lipid droplets, acquire their envelope at the ER, and egress through the secretory pathway. The mechanisms of HCV assembly and particularly the role of viral-host protein-protein interactions in mediating this process are, however, poorly understood. We identified a conserved heretofore unrecognized YXX? motif (? is a bulky hydrophobic residue) within the core protein. This motif is homologous to sorting signals within host cargo proteins known to mediate binding of AP2M1, the ? subunit of clathrin adaptor protein complex 2 (AP-2), and intracellular trafficking. Using microfluidics affinity analysis, protein-fragment complementation assays, and co-immunoprecipitations in infected cells, we show that this motif mediates core binding to AP2M1. YXX? mutations, silencing AP2M1 expression or overexpressing a dominant negative AP2M1 mutant had no effect on HCV RNA replication, however, they dramatically inhibited intra- and extracellular infectivity, consistent with a defect in viral assembly. Quantitative confocal immunofluorescence analysis revealed that core's YXX? motif mediates recruitment of AP2M1 to lipid droplets and that the observed defect in HCV assembly following disruption of core-AP2M1 binding correlates with accumulation of core on lipid droplets, reduced core colocalization with E2 and reduced core localization to trans-Golgi network (TGN), the presumed site of viral particles maturation. Furthermore, AAK1 and GAK, serine/threonine kinases known to stimulate binding of AP2M1 to host cargo proteins, regulate core-AP2M1 binding and are essential for HCV assembly. Last, approved anti-cancer drugs that inhibit AAK1 or GAK not only disrupt core-AP2M1 binding, but also significantly inhibit HCV assembly and infectious virus production. These results validate viral-host interactions essential for HCV assembly and yield compounds for pharmaceutical development.
Project description:Global health is threatened by emerging viral infections, which largely lack effective vaccines or therapies. Targeting host pathways that are exploited by multiple viruses could offer broad-spectrum solutions. We previously reported that AAK1 and GAK, kinase regulators of the host adaptor proteins AP1 and AP2, are essential for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, but the underlying mechanism and relevance to other viruses or in vivo infections remained unknown. Here, we have discovered that AP1 and AP2 cotraffic with HCV particles in live cells. Moreover, we found that multiple viruses, including dengue and Ebola, exploit AAK1 and GAK during entry and infectious virus production. In cultured cells, treatment with sunitinib and erlotinib, approved anticancer drugs that inhibit AAK1 or GAK activity, or with more selective compounds inhibited intracellular trafficking of HCV and multiple unrelated RNA viruses with a high barrier to resistance. In murine models of dengue and Ebola infection, sunitinib/erlotinib combination protected against morbidity and mortality. We validated sunitinib- and erlotinib-mediated inhibition of AAK1 and GAK activity as an important mechanism of antiviral action. Additionally, we revealed potential roles for additional kinase targets. These findings advance our understanding of virus-host interactions and establish a proof of principle for a repurposed, host-targeted approach to combat emerging viruses.
Project description:Cyclin G associated kinase (GAK) emerged as a promising drug target for the treatment of viral infections. However, no potent and selective GAK inhibitors have been reported in the literature to date. This paper describes the discovery of isothiazolo[5,4-b]pyridines as selective GAK inhibitors, with the most potent congeners displaying low nanomolar binding affinity for GAK. Cocrystallization experiments revealed that these compounds behaved as classic type I ATP-competitive kinase inhibitors. In addition, we have demonstrated that these compounds exhibit a potent activity against hepatitis C virus (HCV) by inhibiting two temporally distinct steps in the HCV life cycle (i.e., viral entry and assembly). Hence, these GAK inhibitors represent chemical probes to study GAK function in different disease areas where GAK has been implicated (including viral infection, cancer, and Parkinson's disease).
Project description:β-Catenin-dependent WNT signal transduction governs development, tissue homeostasis, and a vast array of human diseases. Signal propagation through a WNT-Frizzled/LRP receptor complex requires proteins necessary for clathrin-mediated endocytosis (CME). Paradoxically, CME also negatively regulates WNT signaling through internalization and degradation of the receptor complex. Here, using a gain-of-function screen of the human kinome, we report that the AP2 associated kinase 1 (AAK1), a known CME enhancer, inhibits WNT signaling. Reciprocally, AAK1 genetic silencing or its pharmacological inhibition using a potent and selective inhibitor activates WNT signaling. Mechanistically, we show that AAK1 promotes clearance of LRP6 from the plasma membrane to suppress the WNT pathway. Time-course experiments support a transcription-uncoupled, WNT-driven negative feedback loop; prolonged WNT treatment drives AAK1-dependent phosphorylation of AP2M1, clathrin-coated pit maturation, and endocytosis of LRP6. We propose that, following WNT receptor activation, increased AAK1 function and CME limits WNT signaling longevity.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV) 3a protein functions as an ion channel, induces apoptosis and is important for viral pathogenesis. It is expressed on the cell surface and contains a tyrosine-based sorting motif and a di-acidic motif, which may be crucial for its intracellular trafficking. However the role of these motifs is not fully understood in the case of 3a protein. METHODS: The subcellular distribution of the 3a protein was studied by immunofluorescence staining of cells transfected with wild type and mutant constructs along with markers for different intracellular compartments. Semi-quantitative RT-PCR was performed to estimate the mRNA where as western blotting was carried out to detect protein levels of wild type and mutant 3a proteins. In vitro transcription- translation was performed to estimate cell free protein synthesis. RESULTS: While the wild type 3a protein is efficiently transported to the plasma membrane, the protein with mutations in the tyrosine and valine residues within the YXXV motif (?YXX?) accumulated in the Golgi compartment. However the 3a protein with mutations within the EXD di-acidic motif (?EXD) showed an intracellular distribution similar to the wild type protein. Increased retention of the ?YXX? protein in the Golgi compartment also increased its association with lipid droplets. The ?YXX? protein also expressed at significantly lower levels compared to the wild type 3a protein, which was reversed with Brefeldin A and Aprotinin. CONCLUSIONS: The data suggest that the YXX? motif of the SARS-CoV 3a protein is necessary for Golgi to plasma membrane transport, in the absence of which the protein is targeted to lysosomal degradation compartment via lipid droplets.
Project description:Cytosolic lipid droplets are central organelles in the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) life cycle. The viral capsid protein core localizes to lipid droplets and initiates the production of viral particles at lipid droplet-associated ER membranes. Core is thought to encapsidate newly synthesized viral RNA and, through interaction with the two envelope proteins E1 and E2, bud into the ER lumen. Here, we visualized the spatial distribution of HCV structural proteins core and E2 in vicinity of small lipid droplets by three-color 3D super-resolution microscopy. We observed and analyzed small areas of colocalization between the two structural proteins in HCV-infected cells with a diameter of approximately 100 nm that might represent putative viral assembly sites.
Project description:Persistent infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major risk factor for the development of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. With an estimated about 3% of the world population infected with this virus, the lack of a prophylactic vaccine and a selective therapy, chronic hepatitis C currently is a main indication for liver transplantation. The establishment of cell-based replication and virus production systems has led to first insights into the functions of HCV proteins. However, the role of nonstructural protein 5A (NS5A) in the viral replication cycle is so far not known. NS5A is a membrane-associated RNA-binding protein assumed to be involved in HCV RNA replication. Its numerous interactions with the host cell suggest that NS5A is also an important determinant for pathogenesis and persistence. In this study we show that NS5A is a key factor for the assembly of infectious HCV particles. We specifically identify the C-terminal domain III as the primary determinant in NS5A for particle formation. We show that both core and NS5A colocalize on the surface of lipid droplets, a proposed site for HCV particle assembly. Deletions in domain III of NS5A disrupting this colocalization abrogate infectious particle formation and lead to an enhanced accumulation of core protein on the surface of lipid droplets. Finally, we show that mutations in NS5A causing an assembly defect can be rescued by trans-complementation. These data provide novel insights into the production of infectious HCV and identify NS5A as a major determinant for HCV assembly. Since domain III of NS5A is one of the most variable regions in the HCV genome, the results suggest that viral isolates may differ in their level of virion production and thus in their level of fitness and pathogenesis.
Project description:The NS5A protein of hepatitis C virus (HCV) plays roles in both virus genome replication and assembly. NS5A comprises three domains, of these domain I is believed to be involved exclusively in genome replication. In contrast, domains II and III are required for the production of infectious virus particles and are largely dispensable for genome replication. Domain I is highly conserved between HCV and related hepaciviruses, and is highly structured, exhibiting different dimeric conformations. To investigate the functions of domain I in more detail, we conducted a mutagenic study of 12 absolutely conserved and surface-exposed residues within the context of a JFH-1-derived sub-genomic replicon and infectious virus. Whilst most of these abrogated genome replication, three mutants (P35A, V67A and P145A) retained the ability to replicate but showed defects in virus assembly. P35A exhibited a modest reduction in infectivity, however V67A and P145A produced no infectious virus. Using a combination of density gradient fractionation, biochemical analysis and high resolution confocal microscopy we demonstrate that V67A and P145A disrupted the localisation of NS5A to lipid droplets. In addition, the localisation and size of lipid droplets in cells infected with these two mutants were perturbed compared to wildtype HCV. Biophysical analysis revealed that V67A and P145A abrogated the ability of purified domain I to dimerize and resulted in an increased affinity of binding to HCV 3'UTR RNA. Taken together, we propose that domain I of NS5A plays multiple roles in assembly, binding nascent genomic RNA and transporting it to lipid droplets where it is transferred to Core. Domain I also contributes to a change in lipid droplet morphology, increasing their size. This study reveals novel functions of NS5A domain I in assembly of infectious HCV and provides new perspectives on the virus lifecycle.
Project description:Host cell lipid droplets (LD) are essential in the hepatitis C virus (HCV) life cycle and are targeted by the viral capsid core protein. Core-coated LDs accumulate in the perinuclear region and facilitate viral particle assembly, but it is unclear how mobility of these LDs is directed by core. Herein we used two-photon fluorescence, differential interference contrast imaging, and coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering microscopies, to reveal novel core-mediated changes to LD dynamics. Expression of core protein's lipid binding domain II (DII-core) induced slower LD speeds, but did not affect directionality of movement on microtubules. Modulating the LD binding strength of DII-core further impacted LD mobility, revealing the temporal effects of LD-bound DII-core. These results for DII-core coated LDs support a model for core-mediated LD localization that involves core slowing down the rate of movement of LDs until localization at the perinuclear region is accomplished where LD movement ceases. The guided localization of LDs by HCV core protein not only is essential to the viral life cycle but also poses an interesting target for the development of antiviral strategies against HCV.
Project description:Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a major cause of liver disease. The molecular machinery of HCV assembly and particle release remains obscure. A better understanding of the assembly events might reveal new potential antiviral strategies. It was suggested that the nonstructural protein 5A (NS5A), an attractive recent drug target, participates in the production of infectious particles as a result of its interaction with the HCV core protein. However, prior to the present study, the NS5A-binding site in the viral core remained unknown. We found that the D1 domain of core contains the NS5A-binding site with the strongest interacting capacity in the basic P38-K74 cluster. We also demonstrated that the N-terminal basic residues of core at positions 50, 51, 59 and 62 were required for NS5A binding. Analysis of all substitution combinations of R50A, K51A, R59A, and R62A, in the context of the HCVcc system, showed that single, double, triple, and quadruple mutants were fully competent for viral RNA replication, but deficient in secretion of viral particles. Furthermore, we found that the extracellular and intracellular infectivity of all the mutants was abolished, suggesting a defect in the formation of infectious particles. Importantly, we showed that the interaction between the single and quadruple core mutants and NS5A was impaired in cells expressing full-length HCV genome. Interestingly, mutations of the four basic residues of core did not alter the association of core or NS5A with lipid droplets. This study showed for the first time that basic residues in the D1 domain of core that are critical for the formation of infectious extracellular and intracellular particles also play a role in core-NS5A interactions.
Project description:Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a single-stranded RNA virus that replicates on endoplasmic reticulum-derived membranes. HCV particle assembly is dependent on the association of core protein with cellular lipid droplets (LDs). However, it remains uncertain whether HCV assembly occurs at the LD membrane itself or at closely associated ER membranes. Furthermore, it is not known how the HCV replication complex and progeny genomes physically associate with the presumed sites of virion assembly at or near LDs. Using an unbiased proteomic strategy, we have found that Rab18 interacts with the HCV nonstructural protein NS5A. Rab18 associates with LDs and is believed to promote physical interaction between LDs and ER membranes. Active (GTP-bound) forms of Rab18 bind more strongly to NS5A than a constitutively GDP-bound mutant. NS5A colocalizes with Rab18-positive LDs in HCV-infected cells, and Rab18 appears to promote the physical association of NS5A and other replicase components with LDs. Modulation of Rab18 affects genome replication and possibly also the production of infectious virions. Our results support a model in which specific interactions between viral and cellular proteins may promote the physical interaction between membranous HCV replication foci and lipid droplets.