Global organization of a positive-strand RNA virus genome.
ABSTRACT: The genomes of plus-strand RNA viruses contain many regulatory sequences and structures that direct different viral processes. The traditional view of these RNA elements are as local structures present in non-coding regions. However, this view is changing due to the discovery of regulatory elements in coding regions and functional long-range intra-genomic base pairing interactions. The ?4.8 kb long RNA genome of the tombusvirus tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) contains these types of structural features, including six different functional long-distance interactions. We hypothesized that to achieve these multiple interactions this viral genome must utilize a large-scale organizational strategy and, accordingly, we sought to assess the global conformation of the entire TBSV genome. Atomic force micrographs of the genome indicated a mostly condensed structure composed of interconnected protrusions extending from a central hub. This configuration was consistent with the genomic secondary structure model generated using high-throughput selective 2'-hydroxyl acylation analysed by primer extension (i.e. SHAPE), which predicted different sized RNA domains originating from a central region. Known RNA elements were identified in both domain and inter-domain regions, and novel structural features were predicted and functionally confirmed. Interestingly, only two of the six long-range interactions known to form were present in the structural model. However, for those interactions that did not form, complementary partner sequences were positioned relatively close to each other in the structure, suggesting that the secondary structure level of viral genome structure could provide a basic scaffold for the formation of different long-range interactions. The higher-order structural model for the TBSV RNA genome provides a snapshot of the complex framework that allows multiple functional components to operate in concert within a confined context.
Project description:The 5' untranslated regions (UTRs) of (+)-strand RNA viruses play a variety of roles in the reproductive cycles of these infectious agents. Tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) belongs to this class of RNA virus and is the prototype member of the genus Tombusvirus. Previous studies have demonstrated that a T-shaped domain (TSD) forms in the 5' half of the TBSV 5' UTR and that it plays a central role in viral RNA replication. Here we have extended our structure-function analysis to the 3' half of the 5' UTR. Investigation of this region in the context of a model viral replicon (i.e., a TBSV-derived defective interfering [DI] RNA) revealed that this segment contains numerous functionally relevant structural features. In vitro solution structure probing along with comparative and computer-aided RNA secondary structure analyses predicted the presence of a simple stem loop (SL5) followed by a more complex downstream domain (DSD). Both structures were found to be essential for efficient DI RNA accumulation when tested in a plant protoplast system. For SL5, maintenance of the base of its stem was the principal feature required for robust in vivo accumulation. In the DSD, both helical and unpaired regions containing conserved sequences were necessary for efficient DI RNA accumulation. Additionally, optimal DI RNA accumulation required a TSD-DSD interaction mediated by a pseudoknot. Modifications that reduced accumulation did not appreciably affect DI RNA stability in vivo, indicating that the DSD and SL5 act to facilitate viral RNA replication.
Project description:In positive-strand RNA viruses, 5' untranslated regions (5' UTRs) mediate many essential viral processes, including genome replication. Previously, we proposed that the 5'-terminal portion of the genomic leader sequence of Tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) forms an RNA structure containing a 3-helix junction, termed the T-shaped domain (TSD). In the present study, we have carried out structure-function analysis of the proposed TSD and have confirmed an important role for this domain in mediating efficient viral RNA amplification. Using a model TBSV defective interfering RNA replicon and a protoplast system, we demonstrated that various TSD subelements contribute to the efficiency of viral RNA replication. In particular, the stabilities of all three stems (S1, S2, and S4) forming the 3-helix junction are important, while stem-loop 3-a terminal extension of S2-is largely dispensable. Additionally, some of the sequences forming the 3-helix junction are required in an identity-dependent manner. Thus, both secondary structure and nucleotide identity are important for TSD-mediated viral RNA replication. Importantly, these results are fully consistent with the dual functions we defined previously for the sequences corresponding to loops 3 and 4, respectively, in facilitating 5' cap- and 3' poly(A) tail-independent translation of the genome by forming a loop-loop interaction with the 3'-proximal translational enhancer and in mediating viral RNA replication through formation of a pseudoknot with the adjacent downstream RNA domain. Also, since comparable TSDs and associated interactions are predicted in the 5' UTRs of all sequenced Aureusvirus genomes, members of at least one other genus in the family Tombusviridae appear to utilize this type of multifunctional RNA domain.
Project description:A distance constrained secondary structural model of the ?10 kb RNA genome of the HIV-1 has been predicted but higher-order structures, involving long distance interactions, are currently unknown. We present the first global RNA secondary structure model for the HIV-1 genome, which integrates both comparative structure analysis and information from experimental data in a full-length prediction without distance constraints. Besides recovering known structural elements, we predict several novel structural elements that are conserved in HIV-1 evolution. Our results also indicate that the structure of the HIV-1 genome is highly variable in most regions, with a limited number of stable and conserved RNA secondary structures. Most interesting, a set of long distance interactions form a core organizing structure (COS) that organize the genome into three major structural domains. Despite overlapping protein-coding regions the COS is supported by a particular high frequency of compensatory base changes, suggesting functional importance for this element. This new structural element potentially organizes the whole genome into three major domains protruding from a conserved core structure with potential roles in replication and evolution for the virus.
Project description:Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a rapidly increasing global health problem with an estimated 170 million people infected worldwide. HCV is a hepatotropic, positive-sense RNA virus of the family Flaviviridae. As a positive-sense RNA virus, the HCV genome itself must serve as a template for translation, replication and packaging. The viral RNA must therefore be a dynamic structure that is able to readily accommodate structural changes to expose different regions of the genome to viral and cellular proteins to carry out the HCV life cycle. The ? 9600 nucleotide viral genome contains a single long open reading frame flanked by 5' and 3' non-coding regions that contain cis-acting RNA elements important for viral translation, replication and stability. Additional cis-acting RNA elements have also been identified in the coding sequences as well as in the 3' end of the negative-strand replicative intermediate. Herein, we provide an overview of the importance of these cis-acting RNA elements in the HCV life cycle.
Project description:Rotaviruses are a major cause of acute, often fatal, gastroenteritis in infants and young children world-wide. Virions contain an 11 segment double-stranded RNA genome. Little is known about the cis-acting sequences and structural elements of the viral RNAs. Using a database of 1621 full-length sequences of mammalian group A rotavirus RNA segments, we evaluated the codon, sequence and RNA structural conservation of the complete genome. Codon conservation regions were found in eight ORFs, suggesting the presence of functional RNA elements. Using ConStruct and RNAz programmes, we identified conserved secondary structures in the positive-sense RNAs including long-range interactions (LRIs) at the 5' and 3' terminal regions of all segments. In RNA9, two mutually exclusive structures were observed suggesting a switch mechanism between a conserved terminal LRI and an independent 3' stem-loop structure. In RNA6, a conserved stem-loop was found in a region previously reported to have translation enhancement activity. Biochemical structural analysis of RNA11 confirmed the presence of terminal LRIs and two internal helices with high codon and sequence conservation. These extensive in silico and in vitro analyses provide evidence of the conservation, complexity, multi-functionality and dynamics of rotavirus RNA structures which likely influence RNA replication, translation and genome packaging.
Project description:Enteroviral RNA genomes share a long, highly structured 5' untranslated region (5' UTR) containing a type I internal ribosome entry site (IRES). The 5' UTR is composed of stably folded RNA domains connected by unstructured RNA regions. Proper folding and functioning of the 5' UTR underlies the efficiency of viral replication and also determines viral virulence. We have characterized the structure of 5' UTR genomic RNA from coxsackievirus B3 using selective 2'-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension (SHAPE) and base-specific chemical probes in solution. Our results revealed novel structural features, including realignment of major domains, newly identified long-range interactions, and an intrinsically disordered connecting region. Together, these newly identified features contribute to a model for enteroviral 5' UTRs with type I IRES elements that links structure to function during the hierarchical processes directed by genomic RNA during viral infection.IMPORTANCE Enterovirus infections are responsible for human diseases, including myocarditis, pancreatitis, acute flaccid paralysis, and poliomyelitis. The virulence of these viruses depends on efficient recognition of the RNA genome by a large family of host proteins and protein synthesis factors, which in turn relies on the three-dimensional folding of the first 750 nucleotides of the molecule. Structural information about this region of the genome, called the 5' untranslated region (5' UTR), is needed to assist in the process of vaccine and antiviral development. This work presents a model for the structure of the enteroviral 5' UTR. The model includes an RNA element called an intrinsically disordered RNA region (IDRR). Intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) are well known, but correlates in RNA have not been proposed. The proposed IDRR is a 20-nucleotide region, long known for its functional importance, where structural flexibility helps explain recognition by factors controlling multiple functional states.
Project description:The replication of plus-strand RNA virus genomes is mediated by virally encoded RNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RdRps). We have investigated the role of the C-proximal region in the RdRp of tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) in mediating viral RNA synthesis. TBSV is the prototype species in the genus Tombusvirus, family Tombusviridae, and its RdRp is responsible for replicating the viral genome, transcribing two subgenomic mRNAs, and supporting replication of defective interfering RNAs. Comparative sequence analysis of the RdRps of tombusvirids identified three highly conserved motifs in their C-proximal regions, and these sequences were subsequently targeted for mutational analysis in TBSV. The results revealed that these motifs are important for (i) synthesizing viral genomic RNA and subgenomic mRNAs, (ii) facilitating plus- and/or minus-strand synthesis, and (iii) modulating trans-replication of a defective interfering RNA. These motifs were also found to be conserved in other plant viruses as well as in a fungal and insect virus. The collective findings are discussed in relation to viral RNA synthesis and taxonomy.Little is currently known about the structure and function of the viral polymerases that replicate the genomes of RNA plant viruses. Tombusviruses, the prototype of the tombusvirids, have been used as model plus-strand RNA plant viruses for understanding many of the steps in the infectious process; however, their polymerases remain poorly characterized. To help address this issue, the function of the C-terminal region of the polymerase of a tombusvirus was investigated. Three conserved motifs were identified and targeted for mutational analysis. The results revealed that these polymerase motifs are important for determining what type of viral RNA is produced, facilitating different steps in viral RNA production, and amplifying subgenomic RNA replicons. Accordingly, the C-terminal region of the tombusvirus polymerase is needed for a variety of fundamental activities. Furthermore, as these motifs are also present in distantly related viruses, the significance of these results extends beyond tombusvirids.
Project description:Replication of plus-stranded RNA viruses is greatly affected by numerous host-coded proteins acting either as susceptibility or resistance factors. Previous genome-wide screens and global proteomics approaches with Tomato bushy stunt tombusvirus (TBSV) in a yeast model host revealed the involvement of cyclophilins, which are a large family of host prolyl isomerases, in TBSV replication. In this paper, we identified those members of the large cyclophilin family that interacted with the viral replication proteins and inhibited TBSV replication. Further characterization of the most effective cyclophilin, the Cyp40-like Cpr7p, revealed that it strongly inhibits many steps during TBSV replication in a cell-free replication assay. These steps include viral RNA recruitment inhibited via binding of Cpr7p to the RNA-binding region of the viral replication protein; the assembly of the viral replicase complex and viral RNA synthesis. Since the TPR (tetratricopeptide repeats) domain, but not the catalytic domain of Cpr7p is needed for the inhibitory effect on TBSV replication, it seems that the chaperone activity of Cpr7p provides the negative regulatory function. We also show that three Cyp40-like proteins from plants can inhibit TBSV replication in vitro and Cpr7p is also effective against Nodamura virus, an insect pathogen. Overall, the current work revealed a role for Cyp40-like proteins and their TPR domains as regulators of RNA virus replication.
Project description:HIV and related primate lentiviruses possess single-stranded RNA genomes. Multiple regions of these genomes participate in critical steps in the viral replication cycle, and the functions of many RNA elements are dependent on the formation of defined structures. The structures of these elements are still not fully understood, and additional functional elements likely exist that have not been identified. In this work, we compared three full-length HIV-related viral genomes: HIV-1NL4-3, SIVcpz, and SIVmac (the latter two strains are progenitors for all HIV-1 and HIV-2 strains, respectively). Model-free RNA structure comparisons were performed using whole-genome structure information experimentally derived from nucleotide-resolution SHAPE reactivities. Consensus secondary structures were constructed for strongly correlated regions by taking into account both SHAPE probing structural data and nucleotide covariation information from structure-based alignments. In these consensus models, all known functional RNA elements were recapitulated with high accuracy. In addition, we identified multiple previously unannotated structural elements in the HIV-1 genome likely to function in translation, splicing and other replication cycle processes; these are compelling targets for future functional analyses. The structure-informed alignment strategy developed here will be broadly useful for efficient RNA motif discovery.
Project description:Plus-strand RNA viruses contain RNA elements within their genomes that mediate a variety of fundamental viral processes. The traditional view of these elements is that of local RNA structures. This perspective, however, is changing due to increasing discoveries of functional viral RNA elements that are formed by long-range RNA-RNA interactions, often spanning thousands of nucleotides. The plus-strand RNA genomes of tombusviruses exemplify this concept by possessing different long-range RNA-RNA interactions that regulate both viral translation and transcription. Here we report that a third fundamental tombusvirus process, viral genome replication, requires a long-range RNA-based interaction spanning approximately 3000 nts. In vivo and in vitro analyses suggest that the discontinuous RNA platform formed by the interaction facilitates efficient assembly of the viral RNA replicase. This finding has allowed us to build an integrated model for the role of global RNA structure in regulating the reproduction of a eukaryotic RNA virus, and the insights gained have extended our understanding of the multifunctional nature of viral RNA genomes.