5-(Perylen-3-yl)ethynyl-arabino-uridine (aUY11), an arabino-based rigid amphipathic fusion inhibitor, targets virion envelope lipids to inhibit fusion of influenza virus, hepatitis C virus, and other enveloped viruses.
ABSTRACT: Entry of enveloped viruses requires fusion of viral and cellular membranes. Fusion requires the formation of an intermediate stalk structure, in which only the outer leaflets are fused. The stalk structure, in turn, requires the lipid bilayer of the envelope to bend into negative curvature. This process is inhibited by enrichment in the outer leaflet of lipids with larger polar headgroups, which favor positive curvature. Accordingly, phospholipids with such shape inhibit viral fusion. We previously identified a compound, 5-(perylen-3-yl)ethynyl-2'-deoxy-uridine (dUY11), with overall shape and amphipathicity similar to those of these phospholipids. dUY11 inhibited the formation of the negative curvature necessary for stalk formation and the fusion of a model enveloped virus, vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV). We proposed that dUY11 acted by biophysical mechanisms as a result of its shape and amphipathicity. To test this model, we have now characterized the mechanisms against influenza virus and HCV of 5-(perylen-3-yl)ethynyl-arabino-uridine (aUY11), which has shape and amphipathicity similar to those of dUY11 but contains an arabino-nucleoside. aUY11 interacted with envelope lipids to inhibit the infectivity of influenza virus, hepatitis C virus (HCV), herpes simplex virus 1 and 2 (HSV-1/2), and other enveloped viruses. It specifically inhibited the fusion of influenza virus, HCV, VSV, and even protein-free liposomes to cells. Furthermore, aUY11 inhibited the formation of negative curvature in model lipid bilayers. In summary, the arabino-derived aUY11 and the deoxy-derived dUY11 act by the same antiviral mechanisms against several enveloped but otherwise unrelated viruses. Therefore, chemically unrelated compounds of appropriate shape and amphipathicity target virion envelope lipids to inhibit formation of the negative curvature required for fusion, inhibiting infectivity by biophysical, not biochemical, mechanisms.
Project description:Enveloped viruses enter cells via a process of membrane fusion between the viral envelope and a cellular membrane. For influenza virus, mutational data have shown that the membrane-inserted portions of the hemagglutinin protein play a critical role in achieving fusion. In contrast to the relatively well-understood ectodomain, a predictive mechanistic understanding of the intramembrane mechanisms by which influenza hemagglutinin drives fusion has been elusive. We used molecular dynamics simulations of fusion between a full-length hemagglutinin proteoliposome and a lipid bilayer to analyze these mechanisms. In our simulations, hemagglutinin first acts within the membrane to increase lipid tail protrusion and promote stalk formation and then acts to engage the distal leaflets of each membrane and promote stalk widening, curvature, and eventual fusion. These two sequential mechanisms, one occurring before stalk formation and one after, are consistent with our experimental measurements of single-virus fusion kinetics to liposomes of different sizes. The resulting model also helps explain and integrate previous mutational and biophysical data, particularly the mutational sensitivity of the fusion peptide N terminus and the length sensitivity of the transmembrane domain. We hypothesize that entry by other enveloped viruses may also use sequential processes of acyl tail exposure, followed by membrane curvature and distal leaflet engagement.
Project description:The highly conserved N-terminal 23 residues of the hemagglutinin glycoprotein, known as the fusion peptide domain (HAfp23), is vital to the membrane fusion and infection mechanism of the influenza virus. HAfp23 has a helical hairpin structure consisting of two tightly packed amphiphilic helices that rest on the membrane surface. We demonstrate that HAfp23 is a new class of amphipathic helix that functions by leveraging the negative curvature induced by two tightly packed helices on membranes. The helical hairpin structure has an inverted wedge shape characteristic of negative curvature lipids, with a bulky hydrophobic region and a relatively small hydrophilic head region. The F3G mutation reduces this inverted wedge shape by reducing the volume of its hydrophobic base. We show that despite maintaining identical backbone structures and dynamics as the wild type HAfp23, the F3G mutant has an attenuated fusion activity that is correlated to its reduced ability to induce negative membrane curvature. The inverted wedge shape of HAfp23 is likely to play a crucial role in the initial stages of membrane fusion by stabilizing negative curvature in the fusion stalk.
Project description:To enter cells, enveloped viruses use fusion-mediating glycoproteins to facilitate the merger of the viral and host cell membranes. These glycoproteins undergo large-scale irreversible refolding during membrane fusion. The paramyxovirus parainfluenza virus 5 mediates membrane merger through its fusion protein (F). The transmembrane (TM) domains of viral fusion proteins are typically required for fusion. The TM domain of F is particularly interesting in that it is potentially unusually long; multiple calculations suggest a TM helix length between 25 and 48 residues. Oxidative cross-linking of single-cysteine substitutions indicates the F TM trimer forms a helical bundle within the membrane. To assess the functional role of the paramyxovirus parainfluenza virus 5 F protein TM domain, alanine scanning mutagenesis was performed. Two residues located in the outer leaflet of the bilayer are critical for fusion. Multiple amino acid substitutions at these positions indicate the physical properties of the side chain play a critical role in supporting or blocking fusion. Analysis of intermediate steps in F protein refolding indicated that the mutants were not trapped at the open stalk intermediate or the prehairpin intermediate. Incorporation of a known F protein destabilizing mutation that causes a hyperfusogenic phenotype restored fusion activity to the mutants. Further, altering the curvature of the lipid bilayer by addition of oleic acid promoted fusion of the F protein mutants. In aggregate, these data indicate that the TM domain plays a functional role in fusion beyond merely anchoring the protein in the viral envelope and that it can affect the structures and steady-state concentrations of the various conformational intermediates en route to the final postfusion state. We suggest that the unusual length of this TM helix might allow it to serve as a template for formation of or specifically stabilize the lipid stalk intermediate in fusion.
Project description:Biological membrane fusion proceeds via an essential topological transition of the two membranes involved. Known players such as certain lipid species and fusion proteins are generally believed to alter the free energy and thus the rate of the fusion reaction. Quantifying these effects by theory poses a major challenge since the essential reaction intermediates are collective, diffusive and of a molecular length scale. We conducted molecular dynamics simulations in conjunction with a state-of-the-art string method to resolve the minimum free-energy path of the first fusion intermediate state, the so-called stalk. We demonstrate that the isolated transmembrane domains (TMDs) of fusion proteins such as SNARE molecules drastically lower the free energy of both the stalk barrier and metastable stalk, which is not trivially explained by molecular shape arguments. We relate this effect to the local thinning of the membrane (negative hydrophobic mismatch) imposed by the TMDs which favors the nearby presence of the highly bent stalk structure or prestalk dimple. The distance between the membranes is the most crucial determinant of the free energy of the stalk, whereas the free-energy barrier changes only slightly. Surprisingly, fusion enhancing lipids, i.e., lipids with a negative spontaneous curvature, such as PE lipids have little effect on the free energy of the stalk barrier, likely because of its single molecular nature. In contrast, the lipid shape plays a crucial role in overcoming the hydration repulsion between two membranes and thus rather lowers the total work required to form a stalk.
Project description:Interferon-induced transmembrane protein 3 (IFITM3) is a cellular factor that blocks virus fusion with cell membranes. IFITM3 has been suggested to alter membrane curvature and fluidity, though its exact mechanism of action is unclear. Using a bioinformatic approach, we predict IFITM3 secondary structures and identify a highly conserved, short amphipathic helix within a hydrophobic region of IFITM3 previously thought to be a transmembrane domain. Consistent with the known ability of amphipathic helices to alter membrane properties, we show that this helix and its amphipathicity are required for the IFITM3-dependent inhibition of influenza virus, Zika virus, vesicular stomatitis virus, Ebola virus, and human immunodeficiency virus infections. The homologous amphipathic helix within IFITM1 is also required for the inhibition of infection, indicating that IFITM proteins possess a conserved mechanism of antiviral action. We further demonstrate that the amphipathic helix of IFITM3 is required to block influenza virus hemagglutinin-mediated membrane fusion. Overall, our results provide evidence that IFITM proteins utilize an amphipathic helix for inhibiting virus fusion.
Project description:Infection of eukaryotic cells by enveloped viruses requires the merging of viral and cellular membranes. Highly specific viral surface glycoproteins, named fusion proteins, catalyze this reaction by overcoming inherent energy barriers. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is an enveloped virus that belongs to the genus Hepacivirus of the family Flaviviridae. Little is known about the molecular events that mediate cell entry and membrane fusion for HCV, although significant progress has been made due to recent developments in infection assays. Here, using infectious HCV pseudoparticles (HCVpp), we investigated the molecular basis of HCV membrane fusion. By searching for classical features of fusion peptides through the alignment of sequences from various HCV genotypes, we identified six regions of HCV E1 and E2 glycoproteins that present such characteristics. We introduced conserved and nonconserved amino acid substitutions in these regions and analyzed the phenotype of HCVpp generated with mutant E1E2 glycoproteins. This was achieved by (i) quantifying the infectivity of the pseudoparticles, (ii) studying the incorporation of E1E2 and their capacity to mediate receptor binding, and (iii) determining their fusion capacity in cell-cell and liposome/HCVpp fusion assays. We propose that at least three of these regions (i.e., at positions 270 to 284, 416 to 430, and 600 to 620) play a role in the membrane fusion process. These regions may contribute to the merging of viral and cellular membranes either by interacting directly with lipid membranes or by assisting the fusion process through their involvement in the conformational changes of the E1E2 complex at low pH.
Project description:The Paramyxoviridae family of enveloped viruses enters cells through the concerted action of two viral glycoproteins. The receptor-binding protein, hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN), H, or G, binds its cellular receptor and activates the fusion protein, F, which, through an extensive refolding event, brings viral and cellular membranes together, mediating virus-cell fusion. However, the underlying mechanism of F activation on receptor engagement remains unclear. Current hypotheses propose conformational changes in HN, H, or G propagating from the receptor-binding site in the HN, H, or G globular head to the F-interacting stalk region. We provide evidence that the receptor-binding globular head domain of the paramyxovirus parainfluenza virus 5 HN protein is entirely dispensable for F activation. Considering together the crystal structures of HN from different paramyxoviruses, varying energy requirements for fusion activation, F activation involving the parainfluenza virus 5 HN stalk domain, and properties of a chimeric paramyxovirus HN protein, we propose a simple model for the activation of paramyxovirus fusion.
Project description:The Paramyxoviridae comprise a large family of enveloped, negative-sense, single-stranded RNA viruses with significant economic and public health implications. For nearly all paramyxoviruses, infection is initiated by fusion of the viral and host cell plasma membranes in a pH-independent fashion. Fusion is orchestrated by the receptor binding protein hemagglutinin-neuraminidase (HN; also called H or G depending on the virus type) protein and a fusion (F) protein, the latter undergoing a major refolding process to merge the two membranes. Mechanistic details regarding the coupling of receptor binding to F activation are not fully understood. Here, we have identified the flexible loop region connecting the bulky enzymatically active head and the four-helix bundle stalk to be essential for fusion promotion. Proline substitution in this region of HN of parainfluenza virus 5 (PIV5) and Newcastle disease virus HN abolishes cell-cell fusion, whereas HN retains receptor binding and neuraminidase activity. By using reverse genetics, we engineered recombinant PIV5-EGFP viruses with mutations in the head-stalk linker region of HN. Mutations in this region abolished virus recovery and infectivity. In sum, our data suggest that the loop region acts as a "hinge" around which the bulky head of HN swings to-and-fro to facilitate timely HN-mediate F-triggering, a notion consistent with the stalk-mediated activation model of paramyxovirus fusion.Paramyxovirus fusion with the host cell plasma membrane is essential for virus infection. Membrane fusion is orchestrated via interaction of the receptor binding protein (HN, H, or G) with the viral fusion glycoprotein (F). Two distinct models have been suggested to describe the mechanism of fusion: these include "the clamp" and the "provocateur" model of activation. By using biochemical and reverse genetics tools, we have obtained strong evidence in favor of the HN stalk-mediated activation of paramyxovirus fusion. Specifically, our data strongly support the notion that the short linker between the head and stalk plays a role in "conformational switching" of the head group to facilitate F-HN interaction and triggering.
Project description:Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is an enveloped RNA virus belonging to the Flaviviridae family. It infects mainly human hepatocytes and causes chronic liver diseases, including cirrhosis and cancer. HCV encodes two envelope proteins, E1 and E2, that form a heterodimer and mediate virus entry. While E2 has been extensively studied, less has been done so for E1, and its role in the HCV life cycle still needs to be elucidated. Here we developed a new cell culture model for HCV infection based on the trans-complementation of E1. Virus production of the HCV genome lacking the E1-encoding sequence can be efficiently rescued by the ectopic expression of E1 in trans The resulting virus, designated HCV?E1, can propagate in packaging cells expressing E1 but results in only single-cycle infection in naive cells. By using the HCV?E1 system, we explored the role of a putative fusion peptide (FP) of E1 in HCV infection. Interestingly, we found that the FP not only contributes to HCV entry, as previously reported, but also may be involved in virus morphogenesis. Finally, we identified amino acid residues in FP that are critical for biological functions of E1. In summary, our work not only provides a new cell culture model for studying HCV but also provides some insights into understanding the role of E1 in the HCV life cycle.IMPORTANCE Hepatitis C virus (HCV), an enveloped RNA virus, encodes two envelope proteins, E1 and E2, that form a heterodimeric complex to mediate virus entry. Compared to E2, the biological functions of E1 in the virus life cycle are not adequately investigated. Here we developed a new cell culture model for single-cycle HCV infection based on the trans-complementation of E1. The HCV genome lacking the E1-encoding sequence can be efficiently rescued for virus production by the ectopic expression of E1 in trans This new model renders a unique system to dissect functional domains and motifs in E1. Using this system, we found that a putative fusion peptide in E1 is a multifunctional structural element contributing to both HCV entry and morphogenesis. Our work has provided a new cell culture model to study HCV and provides insights into understanding the biological roles of E1 in the HCV life cycle.
Project description:Antiviral drugs targeting viral proteins often result in prompt selection for resistance. Moreover, the number of viral targets is limited. Novel antiviral targets are therefore needed. The unique characteristics of fusion between virion envelopes and cell membranes may provide such targets. Like all fusing bilayers, viral envelopes locally adopt hourglass-shaped stalks during the initial stages of fusion, a process that requires local negative membrane curvature. Unlike cellular vesicles, however, viral envelopes do not redistribute lipids between leaflets, can only use the energy released by virion proteins, and fuse to the extracellular leaflets of cell membranes. Enrichment in phospholipids with hydrophilic heads larger than their hydrophobic tails in the convex outer leaflet of vesicles favors positive curvature, therefore increasing the activation energy barrier for fusion. Such phospholipids can increase the activation barrier beyond the energy provided by virion proteins, thereby inhibiting viral fusion. However, phospholipids are not pharmacologically useful. We show here that a family of synthetic rigid amphiphiles of shape similar to such phospholipids, RAFIs (rigid amphipathic fusion inhibitors), inhibit the infectivity of several otherwise unrelated enveloped viruses, including hepatitis C and HSV-1 and -2 (lowest apparent IC(50) 48 nM), with no cytotoxic or cytostatic effects (selectivity index > 3,000) by inhibiting the increased negative curvature required for the initial stages of fusion.