Regulation of rotavirus polymerase activity by inner capsid proteins.
ABSTRACT: Rotavirus, a cause of pediatric gastroenteritis, has a genome consisting of 11 segments of double-stranded (ds)RNA surrounded by a triple-layered protein capsid. The rotavirus RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, VP1, synthesizes both dsRNA and plus-strand RNA (+RNA) within subviral particles. Structural analyses of the rotavirus capsid and polymerase, combined with functional studies of purified capsid proteins, indicate that the inner capsid protein controls the initiation of RNA synthesis by VP1. Whether VP1 directs dsRNA versus +RNA synthesis may be regulated by the impact of the viral RNA capping enzyme on the position of the polymerase plug, a flexible element that inserts into one of the polymerase's RNA exit tunnels. This review discusses recent findings and ideas into the mechanisms used by rotavirus capsid proteins to control the activities of its viral polymerase and to coordinate RNA synthesis with the assembly of virus particles.
Project description:The rotavirus polymerase VP1 mediates all stages of viral RNA synthesis within the confines of subviral particles and while associated with the core shell protein VP2. Transcription (positive-strand RNA [+RNA] synthesis) by VP1 occurs within double-layered particles (DLPs), while genome replication (double-stranded RNA [dsRNA] synthesis) by VP1 occurs within assembly intermediates. VP2 is critical for VP1 enzymatic activity; yet, the mechanism by which the core shell protein triggers polymerase function remains poorly understood. Structural analyses of transcriptionally competent DLPs show that VP1 is located beneath the VP2 core shell and sits slightly off-center from each of the icosahedral 5-fold axes. In this position, the polymerase is contacted by the core shell at 5 distinct surface-exposed sites, comprising VP1 residues 264 to 267, 547 to 550, 614 to 620, 968 to 980, and 1022 to 1025. Here, we sought to test the functional significance of these VP2 contact sites on VP1 with regard to polymerase activity. We engineered 19 recombinant VP1 (rVP1) proteins that contained single- or multipoint alanine mutations within each individual contact site and assayed them for the capacity to synthesize dsRNA in vitro in the presence of rVP2. Three rVP1 mutants (E265A/L267A, R614A, and D971A/S978A/I980A) exhibited diminished in vitro dsRNA synthesis. Despite their loss-of-function phenotypes, the mutants did not show major structural changes in silico, and they maintained their overall capacity to bind rVP2 in vitro via their nonmutated contact sites. These results move us toward a mechanistic understanding of rotavirus replication and identify precise VP2-binding sites on the polymerase surface that are critical for its enzymatic activation.IMPORTANCE Rotaviruses are important pathogens that cause severe gastroenteritis in the young of many animals. The viral polymerase VP1 mediates all stages of viral RNA synthesis, and it requires the core shell protein VP2 for its enzymatic activity. Yet, there are several gaps in knowledge about how VP2 engages and activates VP1. Here, we probed the functional significance of 5 distinct VP2 contact sites on VP1 that were revealed through previous structural studies. Specifically, we engineered alanine amino acid substitutions within each of the 5 VP1 regions and assayed the mutant polymerases for the capacity to synthesize RNA in the presence of VP2 in a test tube. Our results identified residues within 3 of the VP2 contact sites that are critical for robust polymerase activity. These results are important because they enhance the understanding of a key step of the rotavirus replication cycle.
Project description:The innermost VP2 core shell of the triple-layered, icosahedral rotavirus particle surrounds the viral genome and RNA processing enzymes, including the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (VP1). In addition to anchoring VP1 within the core, VP2 is also an essential cofactor that triggers the polymerase to initiate double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) synthesis using packaged plus-strand RNA templates. The VP2 requirement effectively couples packaging with genome replication and ensures that VP1 makes dsRNA only within an assembling previrion particle. However, the mechanism by which the rotavirus core shell protein activates the viral polymerase remains very poorly understood. In the current study, we sought to elucidate VP2 regions critical for VP1-mediated in vitro dsRNA synthesis. By comparing the functions of proteins from several different rotaviruses, we found that polymerase activation by the core shell protein is specific. Through truncation and chimera mutagenesis, we demonstrate that the VP2 amino terminus, which forms a decameric, internal hub underneath each 5-fold axis, plays an important but nonspecific role in VP1 activation. Our results indicate that the VP2 residues correlating with polymerase activation specificity are located on the inner face of the core shell, distinct from the amino terminus. Based on these findings, we predict that several regions of VP2 engage the polymerase during the concerted processes of rotavirus core assembly and genome replication.
Project description:Rotavirus cores contain the double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) genome, RNA polymerase VP1, and guanylyltransferase VP3 and are enclosed within a lattice formed by the RNA-binding protein VP2. Analysis of baculovirus-expressed core-like particles (CLPs) has shown that VP1 and VP2 assemble into the simplest core-like structures with replicase activity and that VP1, but not VP3, is essential for replicase activity. To further define the role of VP1 and VP2 in the synthesis of dsRNA from viral mRNA, recombinant baculoviruses containing gene 1 (rBVg1) and gene 2 (rBVg2) of SA11 rotavirus were generated and used to express recombinant VP1 (rVP1) and rVP2, respectively. After purification, the proteins were assayed individually and together for the ability to catalyze the synthesis of dsRNA in a cell-free replication system. The results showed that dsRNA was synthesized only in assays containing rVP1 and rVP2, thus establishing that both proteins are essential for replicase activity. Even in assays containing a primer-linked mRNA template, neither rVP1 nor rVP2 alone directed RNA synthesis. Characterization of the cis-acting replication signals in mRNA recognized by the replicase of rVP1 and rVP2 showed that they were the same as those recognized by the replicase of virion-derived cores, thus excluding a role for VP3 in recognition of the mRNA template by the replicase. Analysis of RNA-protein interactions indicated that the mRNA template binds strongly to VP2 in replicase assays but that the majority of the dsRNA product neither is packaged nor stably associates with VP2. The results of replicase assays performed with mutant VP2 containing a deletion in its RNA-binding domain suggests that the essential role for VP2 in replication is linked to the protein's ability to bind the mRNA template for minus-strand synthesis.
Project description:Rotaviruses have a genome composed of 11 segments of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) surrounded by three protein layers. The virus contains an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase that synthesizes RNA transcripts corresponding to all segments of the viral genome. These transcripts direct the synthesis of the viral proteins and also serve as templates for the synthesis of the complementary strand to form the dsRNA genome. In this work, we analyzed the kinetics of transcription and replication of the viral genome throughout the replication cycle of the virus using quantitative reverse transcription-PCR. The role of the proteins that form double-layered particles ([DLPs] VP1, VP2, VP3, and VP6) in replication and transcription of the viral genome was analyzed by silencing their expression in rotavirus-infected cells. All of them were shown to be essential for the replication of the dsRNA genome since in their absence there was little synthesis of viral mRNA and dsRNA. The characterization of the kinetics of RNA transcription and replication of the viral genome under conditions where these proteins were silenced provided direct evidence for a second round of transcription during the replication of the virus. Interestingly, despite the decrease in mRNA accumulation when any of the four proteins was silenced, the synthesis of viral proteins decreased when VP2 and VP6 were knocked down, whereas the absence of VP1 and VP3 did not have a severe impact on viral protein synthesis. Characterization of viral particle assembly in the absence of VP1 and VP3 showed that while the formation of triple-layered particles and DLPs was decreased, the amount of assembled lower-density particles, often referred to as empty particles, was not different from the amount in control-infected cells, suggesting that viral particles can assemble in the absence of either VP1 or VP3.
Project description:Rotavirus RNA-dependent RNA polymerase VP1 catalyzes RNA synthesis within a subviral particle. This activity depends on core shell protein VP2. A conserved sequence at the 3' end of plus-strand RNA templates is important for polymerase association and genome replication. We have determined the structure of VP1 at 2.9 A resolution, as apoenzyme and in complex with RNA. The cage-like enzyme is similar to reovirus lambda3, with four tunnels leading to or from a central, catalytic cavity. A distinguishing characteristic of VP1 is specific recognition, by conserved features of the template-entry channel, of four bases, UGUG, in the conserved 3' sequence. Well-defined interactions with these bases position the RNA so that its 3' end overshoots the initiating register, producing a stable but catalytically inactive complex. We propose that specific 3' end recognition selects rotavirus RNA for packaging and that VP2 activates the autoinhibited VP1/RNA complex to coordinate packaging and genome replication.
Project description:To replicate its segmented, double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) genome, the rotavirus RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, VP1, must recognize viral plus-strand RNAs (+RNAs) and guide them into the catalytic center. VP1 binds to the conserved 3' end of rotavirus +RNAs via both sequence-dependent and sequence-independent contacts. Sequence-dependent contacts permit recognition of viral +RNAs and specify an autoinhibited positioning of the template within the catalytic site. However, the contributions to dsRNA synthesis of sequence-dependent and sequence-independent VP1-RNA interactions remain unclear. To analyze the importance of VP1 residues that interact with +RNA on genome replication, we engineered mutant VP1 proteins and assayed their capacity to synthesize dsRNA in vitro. Our results showed that, individually, mutation of residues that interact specifically with RNA bases did not diminish replication levels. However, simultaneous mutations led to significantly lower levels of dsRNA product, presumably due to impaired recruitment of +RNA templates. In contrast, point mutations of sequence-independent RNA contact residues led to severely diminished replication, likely as a result of improper positioning of templates at the catalytic site. A noteworthy exception was a K419A mutation that enhanced the initiation capacity and product elongation rate of VP1. The specific chemistry of Lys419 and its position at a narrow region of the template entry tunnel appear to contribute to its capacity to moderate replication. Together, our findings suggest that distinct classes of VP1 residues interact with +RNA to mediate template recognition and dsRNA synthesis yet function in concert to promote viral RNA replication at appropriate times and rates.
Project description:Rotaviruses perform the remarkable tasks of transcribing and replicating 11 distinct double-stranded RNA genome segments within the confines of a subviral particle. Multiple viral polymerases are tethered to the interior of a particle, each dedicated to a solitary genome segment but acting in synchrony to synthesize RNA. Although the rotavirus polymerase specifically recognizes RNA templates in the absence of other proteins, its enzymatic activity is contingent upon interaction with the viral capsid. This intraparticle strategy of RNA synthesis helps orchestrate the concerted packaging and replication of the viral genome. Here, we review our current understanding of rotavirus RNA synthetic mechanisms.
Project description:Bluetongue virus (BTV) protein, VP1, is known to possess an intrinsic polymerase function, unlike rotavirus VP1, which requires the capsid protein VP2 for its catalytic activity. However, compared with the polymerases of other members of the Reoviridae family, BTV VP1 has not been characterized in detail.Using an in vitro polymerase assay system, we demonstrated that BTV VP1 could synthesize the ten dsRNAs simultaneously from BTV core-derived ssRNA templates in a single in vitro reaction as well as genomic dsRNA segments from rotavirus core-derived ssRNA templates that possess no sequence similarity with BTV. In contrast, dsRNAs were not synthesized from non-viral ssRNA templates by VP1, unless they were fused with specific BTV sequences. Further, we showed that synthesis of dsRNAs from capped ssRNA templates was significantly higher than that from uncapped ssRNA templates and the addition of dinucleotides enhanced activity as long as the last base of the dinucleotide complemented the 3' -terminal nucleotide of the ssRNA template.We showed that the polymerase activity was stimulated by two different factors: cap structure, likely due to allosteric effect, and dinucleotides due to priming. Our results also suggested the possible presence of cis-acting elements shared by ssRNAs in the members of family Reoviridae.
Project description:Rotaviruses, like other non-enveloped, double-strand RNA viruses, package an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) with each duplex of their segmented genomes. Rotavirus cell entry results in loss of an outer protein layer and delivery into the cytosol of an intact, inner capsid particle (the "double-layer particle," or DLP). The RdRp, designated VP1, is active inside the DLP; each VP1 achieves many rounds of mRNA transcription from its associated genome segment. Previous work has shown that one VP1 molecule lies close to each 5-fold axis of the icosahedrally symmetric DLP, just beneath the inner surface of its protein shell, embedded in tightly packed RNA. We have determined a high-resolution structure for the rotavirus VP1 RdRp in situ, by local reconstruction of density around individual 5-fold positions. We have analyzed intact virions ("triple-layer particles"), non-transcribing DLPs and transcribing DLPs. Outer layer dissociation enables the DLP to synthesize RNA, in vitro as well as in vivo, but appears not to induce any detectable structural change in the RdRp. Addition of NTPs, Mg2+, and S-adenosylmethionine, which allows active transcription, results in conformational rearrangements, in both VP1 and the DLP capsid shell protein, that allow a transcript to exit the polymerase and the particle. The position of VP1 (among the five symmetrically related alternatives) at one vertex does not correlate with its position at other vertices. This stochastic distribution of site occupancies limits long-range order in the 11-segment, double-strand RNA genome.
Project description:During genome transcription in rotavirus, as with many segmented double-stranded RNA viruses, mRNA is transcribed within the intact subviral particle and translocated through specific channels in the capsid. To understand how the conformation of the capsid affects the efficiency of transcriptional events in the viral core, we carried out a series of comparative structural and biochemical studies to characterize four different structural forms of the virus exhibiting differing transcriptional behavior. Two of these were virus-antibody complexes having contrasting transcriptional capabilities, and two were variant structural forms of the virus that exist during the life cycle and also exhibit contrasting transcriptional behavior. Three-dimensional structural studies using electron cryomicroscopy showed that the binding of one Fab (8H2/G5) does not affect the conformation of the capsid, and the efficiency of mRNA production is similar to that of the native subviral particle. The other Fab (2A11/E9) introduces conformational changes in the capsid similar to those seen in the transcriptionally incompetent mature particle. In both of the transcriptionally incompetent particle types, mRNA synthesis was arrested after limited elongation with the resulting oligonucleotide transcripts remaining trapped inside the particles. Our results indicate that the continuous translocation of nascent mRNA through the capsid is critical for efficient transcript elongation and that the blockage of translocation causes premature termination of transcription.