Mapping of the interaction domains of the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus nucleocapsid protein.
ABSTRACT: Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) is a member of the genus Nairovirus of the family Bunyaviridae, that can cause severe haemorrhagic fever in humans, with mortality rates above 30? %. CCHFV is the most widespread of the tick-borne human viruses and it is endemic in areas of central Asia, the Middle East, Africa and southern Europe. Its viral genome consists of three negative-sense RNA segments. The large segment (L) encodes a viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (L protein), the small segment (S) encodes the nucleocapsid protein (N protein) and the medium segment (M) encodes the envelope proteins. The N protein of bunyaviruses binds genomic RNA, forming the viral ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complex. The L protein interacts with these RNP structures, allowing the initiation of viral replication. The N protein also interacts with actin, although the regions and specific residues involved in these interactions have not yet been described. Here, by means of immunoprecipitation and immunofluorescence assays, we identified the regions within the CCHFV N protein implicated in homo-oligomerization and actin binding. We describe the interaction of the N protein with the CCHFV L protein, and identify the N- and C-terminal regions within the L protein that might be necessary for the formation of these N-L protein complexes. These results may guide the development of potent inhibitors of these complexes that could potentially block CCHFV replication.
Project description:The Nairovirus genus of the Bunyaviridae family contains serious human and animal pathogens classified within multiple serogroups and species. Of these serogroups, the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) serogroup comprises sole members CCHFV and Hazara virus (HAZV). CCHFV is an emerging zoonotic virus that causes often-fatal hemorrhagic fever in infected humans for which preventative or therapeutic strategies are not available. In contrast, HAZV is nonpathogenic to humans and thus represents an excellent model to study aspects of CCHFV biology under conditions of more-accessible biological containment. The three RNA segments that form the nairovirus genome are encapsidated by the viral nucleocapsid protein (N) to form ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complexes that are substrates for RNA synthesis and packaging into virus particles. We used quantitative proteomics to identify cellular interaction partners of CCHFV N and identified robust interactions with cellular chaperones. These interactions were validated using immunological methods, and the specific interaction between native CCHFV N and cellular chaperones of the HSP70 family was confirmed during live CCHFV infection. Using infectious HAZV, we showed for the first time that the nairovirus N-HSP70 association was maintained within both infected cells and virus particles, where N is assembled as RNPs. Reduction of active HSP70 levels in cells by the use of small-molecule inhibitors significantly reduced HAZV titers, and a model for chaperone function in the context of high genetic variability is proposed. These results suggest that chaperones of the HSP70 family are required for nairovirus replication and thus represent a genetically stable cellular therapeutic target for preventing nairovirus-mediated disease.Nairoviruses compose a group of human and animal viruses that are transmitted by ticks and associated with serious or fatal disease. One member is Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV), which is responsible for fatal human disease and is recognized as an emerging threat within Europe in response to climate change. No preventative or therapeutic strategies against nairovirus-mediated disease are currently available. Here we show that the N protein of CCHFV and the related Hazara virus interact with a cellular protein, HSP70, during both the intracellular and extracellular stages of the virus life cycle. The use of inhibitors that block HSP70 function reduces virus titers by up to 1,000-fold, suggesting that this interaction is important within the context of the nairovirus life cycle and may represent a potent target for antinairovirus therapies against which the virus cannot easily develop resistance.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) is a member of the nairovirus, a genus in the Bunyaviridae family, which causes a life threatening disease in human. Currently, there is no vaccine against CCHFV and detailed structural analysis of CCHFV proteins remains undefined. The CCHFV M RNA segment encodes two viral surface glycoproteins known as Gn and Gc. Viral glycoproteins can be considered as key targets for vaccine development. OBJECTIVES:The current study aimed to investigate structural bioinformatics of CCHFV Gn protein and design a construct to make a recombinant bacmid to express by baculovirus system. MATERIALS AND METHODS:To express the Gn protein in insect cells that can be used as antigen in animal model vaccine studies. Bioinformatic analysis of CCHFV Gn protein was performed and designed a construct and cloned into pFastBacHTb vector and a recombinant Gn-bacmid was generated by Bac to Bac system. RESULTS:Primary, secondary, and 3D structure of CCHFV Gn were obtained and PCR reaction with M13 forward and reverse primers confirmed the generation of recombinant bacmid DNA harboring Gn coding region under polyhedron promoter. CONCLUSIONS:Characterization of the detailed structure of CCHFV Gn by bioinformatics software provides the basis for development of new experiments and construction of a recombinant bacmid harboring CCHFV Gn, which is valuable for designing a recombinant vaccine against deadly pathogens like CCHFV.
Project description:UNLABELLED:The nairoviruses include assorted tick-borne bunyaviruses that are emerging as causative agents of infectious diseases among humans and animals. As negative-sense single-stranded RNA (-ssRNA) viruses, nairoviruses encode nucleoprotein (NP) that encapsidates the genomic RNA and further forms ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complex with viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp). We previously revealed that the monomeric NP encoded by Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) presents a racket-shaped structure and shows unusual DNA-specific endonuclease activity. To examine the structural and biological variation of nairovirus-encoded NPs, here, we systematically solved the crystal structures of NPs encoded by various nairoviruses, including Hazara virus (HAZV), Kupe virus (KUPV), and Erve virus (ERVEV). Combined with biochemical analysis, our results generate a clearer picture to aid in the understanding of the functional diversity of nairovirus-encoded NPs and the formation of nairovirus RNPs. IMPORTANCE:Nairoviruses comprise several tick-borne bunyaviruses that are emerging as causative agents of infectious diseases among humans and animals; however, little is known of the nairovirus genome assembly and transcription mechanisms. Based on the previous study of CCHFV NP reported by different research groups, we systematically investigate here the structural and functional diversity among three different nairoviruses. This work provides important information on nairovirus nucleoprotein function and the formation of RNPs.
Project description:Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) is a tick-borne Nairovirus that causes severe hemorrhagic fever with a mortality rate of up to 30% in certain outbreaks worldwide. The virus has wide endemic distribution. There is no effective antiviral therapeutic or FDA approved vaccine for this zoonotic viral illness. The multifunctional CCHFV nucleocapsid protein (N protein) plays a crucial role in the establishment of viral infection and is an important structural component of the virion. Here we show that CCHFV N protein has a distant RNA-binding site in the stalk domain that specifically recognizes the vRNA panhandle, formed by the base pairing of complementary nucleotides at the 5' and 3' termini of the vRNA genome. Using multiple approaches, including filter-bonding analysis, GFP reporter assay, and biolayer interferometry we observed an N protein-panhandle interaction both in vitro and in vivo The purified WT CCHFV N protein and the stalk domain also recognize the vRNA panhandle of hazara virus, another Nairovirus in the family Bunyaviridae, demonstrating the genus-specific nature of N protein-panhandle interaction. Another RNA-binding site was identified at the head domain of CCHFV N protein that nonspecifically recognizes the single strand RNA (ssRNA) of viral or nonviral origin. Expression of CCHFV N protein stalk domain active in panhandle binding, dramatically inhibited the hazara virus replication in cell culture, illustrating the role of N protein-panhandle interaction in Nairovirus replication. Our findings reveal the stalk domain of N protein as a potential target in therapeutic interventions to manage CCHFV disease.
Project description:Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) is a tri-segmented, tick-borne nairovirus that causes disease of ranging severity in humans. The CCHFV M segment encodes a complex glycoprotein precursor (GPC) that undergoes extensive endoproteolytic cleavage, giving rise to two structural proteins (Gn and Gc) required for virus attachment and entry, and to multiple non-structural proteins (NSm, GP160, GP85, and GP38). The functions of these non-structural proteins remain largely unclear. Here, we investigate the role of NSm during infection by generating a recombinant CCHFV lacking the complete NSm domain (10200?NSm) and observing CCHFV ?NSm replication in cell lines and pathogenicity in Ifnar-/- mice. Our data demonstrate that the NSm domain is dispensable for viral replication in vitro, and, despite the delayed onset of clinical signs, CCHFV lacking this domain caused severe or lethal disease in infected mice.
Project description:Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) is a negative-strand RNA virus of the family Bunyaviridae (genus: Nairovirus). In humans, CCHFV causes fever, hemorrhage, severe thrombocytopenia, and high fatality. A major impediment in precisely determining the basis of CCHFV's high pathogenicity has been the lack of methodology to produce recombinant CCHFV. We developed a reverse genetics system based on transfecting plasmids into BSR-T7/5 and Huh7 cells. In our system, bacteriophage T7 RNA polymerase produced complementary RNA copies of the viral S, M, and L segments that were encapsidated with the support, in trans, of CCHFV nucleoprotein and L polymerase. The system was optimized to systematically recover high yields of infectious CCHFV. Additionally, we tested the ability of the system to produce specifically designed CCHFV mutants. The M segment encodes a polyprotein that is processed by host proprotein convertases (PCs), including the site-1 protease (S1P) and furin-like PCs. S1P and furin cleavages are necessary for producing the non-structural glycoprotein GP38, while S1P cleavage yields structural Gn. We studied the role of furin cleavage by rescuing a recombinant CCHFV encoding a virus glycoprotein precursor lacking a functional furin cleavage motif (RSKR mutated to ASKA). The ASKA mutation blocked glycoprotein precursor's maturation to GP38, and Gn precursor's maturation to Gn was slightly diminished. Furin cleavage was not essential for replication, as blocking furin cleavage resulted only in transient reduction of CCHFV titers, suggesting that either GP38 and/or decreased Gn maturation accounted for the reduced virion production. Our data demonstrate that nairoviruses can be produced by reverse genetics, and the utility of our system uncovered a function for furin cleavage. This viral rescue system could be further used to study the CCHFV replication cycle and facilitate the development of efficacious vaccines to counter this biological and public health threat.
Project description:We report the genetic characterization of the M RNA segment of Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV). Two CCHFV strains isolated in Xinjiang Province, a region endemic for CCHF in northwestern China, were studied. These strains, designated BA66019 and BA8402, were isolated in 1965 and 1984 from a CCHF patient and Hyalomma ticks, respectively. Viral RNA was extracted from suckling mouse brains infected with these two strains, amplified, and sequenced. The full-length M RNA, consisting of 5.3 kb, was determined for both strains. The coding nucleotide sequences of the two strains differed from each other by 17.5% and from the reference CCHFV strain IbAr10200 by a mean of 22%, suggesting that the genus Nairovirus comprises a group of genetically highly diverse strains.
Project description:Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV) is a tick-borne virus (genus Nairovirus, family Bunyaviridae) associated with high case fatality disease outbreaks in regions of Africa, Europe, and Asia. The CCHFV genome consists of three negative-strand RNA segments, S, M, and L. The unusually large virus L polymerase protein and the need for biosafety level 4 (BSL-4) containment conditions for work with infectious virus have hampered the study of CCHFV replication. The L protein has an ovarian tumor (OTU) protease domain located in the N terminus, which has led to speculation that the protein may be autoproteolytically cleaved to generate the active virus L polymerase and additional functions. We report the successful development of efficient CCHFV helper virus-independent S, M, and L segment minigenome systems for analysis of virus RNA and protein features involved in replication. The virus RNA segment S, M, and L untranslated regions were found to be similar in support of replication of the respective minigenomes. In addition, the OTU domain located in the N terminus of the expressed virus L protein was shown to be a functional protease. However, no evidence of L protein autoproteolytic processing was found, and the OTU protease activity was dispensable for virus RNA replication. Finally, physiologically relevant doses of ribavirin inhibited CCHFV minigenome replication. These results demonstrated the utility of the minigenome system for use in BSL-2 laboratory settings to analyze CCHFV biology and in antiviral drug discovery programs for this important public health and bioterrorism threat.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever Virus (CCHFV) belongs to genus Nairovirus and family Bunyaviridae. The main aim of this study was to investigate the extent of recombination in S-segment genome of CCHFV in Iran. METHODS:Samples were isolated from Iranian patients and those available in GenBank, and analyzed by phylogenetic and bootscan methods. RESULTS:Through comparison of the phylogenetic trees based on full length sequences and partial fragments in the S-segment genome of CCHFV, genetic switch was evident, due to recombination event. Moreover, evidence of multiple recombination events was detected in query isolates when bootscan analysis was used by SimPlot software. CONCLUSION:Switch of different genomic regions between different strains by recombination could contribute to CCHFV diversification and evolution. The occurrence of recombination in CCHFV has a critical impact on epidemiological investigations and vaccine design.
Project description:Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, a severe hemorrhagic disease found throughout Africa, Europe, and Asia, is caused by the tick-borne Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever virus (CCHFV). CCHFV is a negative-sense single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) virus belonging to the Nairovirus genus of the Bunyaviridae family. Its genome of three single-stranded RNA segments is encapsidated by the nucleocapsid protein (CCHFV N) to form the ribonucleoprotein complex. This ribonucleoprotein complex is required during replication and transcription of the viral genomic RNA. Here, we present the crystal structures of the CCHFV N in two distinct forms, an oligomeric form comprised of double antiparallel superhelices and a monomeric form. The head-to-tail interaction of the stalk region of one CCHFV N subunit with the base of the globular body of the adjacent subunit stabilizes the helical organization of the oligomeric form of CCHFV N. It also masks the conserved caspase-3 cleavage site present at the tip of the stalk region from host cell caspase-3 interaction and cleavage. By incubation with primer-length ssRNAs, we also obtained the crystal structure of CCHFV N in its monomeric form, which is similar to a recently published structure. The conformational change of CCHFV N upon deoligomerization results in the exposure of the caspase-3 cleavage site and subjects CCHFV N to caspase-3 cleavage. Mutations of this cleavage site inhibit cleavage by caspase-3 and result in enhanced viral polymerase activity. Thus, cleavage of CCHFV N by host cell caspase-3 appears to be crucial for controlling viral RNA synthesis and represents an important host defense mechanism against CCHFV infection.