Crystal Structure of the Human Cytomegalovirus pUL50-pUL53 Core Nuclear Egress Complex Provides Insight into a Unique Assembly Scaffold for Virus-Host Protein Interactions.
ABSTRACT: Nuclear replication of cytomegalovirus relies on elaborate mechanisms of nucleocytoplasmic egress of viral particles. Thus, the role of two essential and conserved viral nuclear egress proteins, pUL50 and pUL53, is pivotal. pUL50 and pUL53 heterodimerize and form a core nuclear egress complex (NEC), which is anchored to the inner nuclear membrane and provides a scaffold for the assembly of a multimeric viral-cellular NEC. Here, we report the crystal structure of the pUL50-pUL53 heterodimer (amino acids 1-175 and 50-292, respectively) at 2.44 Å resolution. Both proteins adopt a globular fold with mixed ? and ? secondary structure elements. pUL53-specific features include a zinc-binding site and a hook-like N-terminal extension, the latter representing a hallmark element of the pUL50-pUL53 interaction. The hook-like extension (amino acids 59-87) embraces pUL50 and contributes 1510 Å(2) to the total interface area (1880 Å(2)). The pUL50 structure overall resembles the recently published NMR structure of the murine cytomegalovirus homolog pM50 but reveals a considerable repositioning of the very C-terminal ?-helix of pUL50 upon pUL53 binding. pUL53 shows structural resemblance with the GHKL domain of bacterial sensory histidine kinases. A close examination of the crystal structure indicates partial assembly of pUL50-pUL53 heterodimers to hexameric ring-like structures possibly providing additional scaffolding opportunities for NEC. In combination, the structural information on pUL50-pUL53 considerably improves our understanding of the mechanism of HCMV nuclear egress. It may also accelerate the validation of the NEC as a unique target for developing a novel type of antiviral drug and improved options of broad-spectrum antiherpesviral therapy.
Project description:Nuclear egress is a common herpesviral process regulating nucleocytoplasmic capsid release. For human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), the nuclear egress complex (NEC) is determined by the pUL50-pUL53 core that regulates multicomponent assembly with NEC-associated proteins and capsids. Recently, NEC crystal structures were resolved for ?-, ?- and ?-herpesviruses, revealing profound structural conservation, which was not mirrored, however, by primary sequence and binding properties. The NEC binding principle is based on hook-into-groove interaction through an N-terminal hook-like pUL53 protrusion that embraces an ?-helical pUL50 binding groove. So far, pUL50 has been considered as the major kinase-interacting determinant and massive phosphorylation of pUL50-pUL53 was assigned to NEC formation and functionality. Here, we addressed the question of phenotypical changes of ORF-UL50-mutated HCMVs. Surprisingly, our analyses did not detect a predominant replication defect for most of these viral mutants, concerning parameters of replication kinetics (qPCR), viral protein production (Western blot/CoIP) and capsid egress (confocal imaging/EM). Specifically, only the ORF-UL50 deletion rescue virus showed a block of genome synthesis during late stages of infection, whereas all phosphosite mutants exhibited marginal differences compared to wild-type or revertants. These results (i) emphasize a rate-limiting function of pUL50 for nuclear egress, and (ii) demonstrate that mutations in all mapped pUL50 phosphosites may be largely compensated. A refined mechanistic concept points to a multifaceted nuclear egress regulation, for which the dependence on the expression and phosphorylation of pUL50 is discussed.
Project description:Herpesviruses uniquely express two essential nuclear egress-regulating proteins forming a heterodimeric basic structure of the nuclear egress complex (core NEC). These core NECs serve as a hexameric lattice-structured platform for capsid docking and recruit viral and cellular NEC-associated factors that jointly exert nuclear lamina- and membrane-rearranging functions (multicomponent NEC). Here, we report the X-ray structures of ?- and ?-herpesvirus core NECs obtained through an innovative recombinant expression strategy based on NEC-hook::NEC-groove protein fusion constructs. This approach yielded the first structure of ?-herpesviral core NEC, namely the 1.56 Å structure of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) BFRF1-BFLF2, as well as an increased resolution 1.48 Å structure of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) pUL50-pUL53. Detailed analysis of these structures revealed that the prominent hook segment is absolutely required for core NEC formation and contributes approximately 80% of the interaction surface of the globular domains of NEC proteins. Moreover, using HCMV::EBV hook domain swap constructs, computational prediction of the roles of individual hook residues for binding, and quantitative binding assays with synthetic peptides presenting the HCMV- and EBV-specific NEC hook sequences, we characterized the unique hook-into-groove NEC interaction at various levels. Although the overall physicochemical characteristics of the protein interfaces differ considerably in these ?- and ?-herpesvirus NECs, the binding free energy contributions of residues displayed from identical positions are similar. In summary, the results of our study reveal critical details of the molecular mechanism of herpesviral NEC interactions and highlight their potential as an antiviral drug target.
Project description:Herpesviral capsids are assembled in the host cell nucleus before being translocated into the cytoplasm for further maturation. The crossing of the nuclear envelope represents a major event that requires the formation of the nuclear egress complex (NEC). Previous studies demonstrated that human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) proteins pUL50 and pUL53, as well as their homologs in all members of Herpesviridae, interact with each other at the nuclear envelope and form the heterodimeric core of the NEC. In order to characterize further the viral and cellular protein content of the multimeric NEC, the native complex was isolated from HCMV-infected human primary fibroblasts at various time points and analyzed using quantitative proteomics. Previously postulated components of the HCMV-specific NEC, as well as novel potential NEC-associated proteins such as emerin, were identified. In this regard, interaction and colocalization between emerin and pUL50 were confirmed by coimmunoprecipitation and confocal microscopy analyses, respectively. A functional validation of viral and cellular NEC constituents was achieved through siRNA-mediated knockdown experiments. The important role of emerin in NEC functionality was demonstrated by a reduction of viral replication when emerin expression was down-regulated. Moreover, under such conditions, reduced production of viral proteins and deregulation of viral late cytoplasmic maturation were observed. Combined, these data prove the functional importance of emerin as an NEC component, associated with pUL50, pUL53, pUL97, p32/gC1qR, and further regulatory proteins. Summarized, our findings provide the first proteomics-based characterization and functional validation of the HCMV-specific multimeric NEC.
Project description:Herpesviral capsids are assembled in the host cell nucleus and are subsequently translocated to the cytoplasm. During this process it has been demonstrated that the human cytomegalovirus proteins pUL50 and pUL53 interact and form, together with other viral and cellular proteins, the nuclear egress complex at the nuclear envelope. In this study we provide evidence that specific residues of a conserved N-terminal region of pUL50 determine its intranuclear interaction with pUL53. In silico evaluation and biophysical analyses suggested that the conserved region forms a regular secondary structure adopting a globular fold. Importantly, site-directed replacement of individual amino acids by alanine indicated a strong functional influence of specific residues inside this globular domain. In particular, mutation of the widely conserved residues Glu-56 or Tyr-57 led to a loss of interaction with pUL53. Consistent with the loss of binding properties, mutants E56A and Y57A showed a defective function in the recruitment of pUL53 to the nuclear envelope in expression plasmid-transfected and human cytomegalovirus-infected cells. In addition, in silico analysis suggested that residues 3-20 form an amphipathic ?-helix that appears to be conserved among Herpesviridae. Point mutants revealed a structural role of this N-terminal ?-helix for pUL50 stability rather than a direct role in the binding of pUL53. In contrast, the central part of the globular domain including Glu-56 and Tyr-57 is directly responsible for the functional interaction with pUL53 and thus determines formation of the basic nuclear egress complex.
Project description:Nuclear egress is a regulated process shared by ?-, ?- and ?-herpesviruses. The core nuclear egress complex (NEC) is composed of the membrane-anchored protein homologs of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) pUL50, murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) pM50, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) BFRF1 or varicella zoster virus (VZV) Orf24, which interact with the autologous NEC partners pUL53, pM53, BFLF2 or Orf27, respectively. Their recruitment of additional proteins leads to the assembly of a multicomponent NEC, coordinately regulating viral nucleocytoplasmic capsid egress. Here, the functionality of VZV, HCMV, MCMV and EBV core NECs was investigated by coimmunoprecipitation and confocal imaging analyses. Furthermore, a recombinant MCMV, harboring a replacement of ORF M50 by UL50, was analyzed both in vitro and in vivo. In essence, core NEC interactions were strictly limited to autologous NEC pairs and only included one measurable nonautologous interaction between the homologs of HCMV and MCMV. A comparative analysis of MCMV-WT versus MCMV-UL50-infected murine fibroblasts revealed almost identical phenotypes on the levels of protein and genomic replication kinetics. In infected BALB/c mice, virus spread to lung and other organs was found comparable between these viruses, thus stating functional complementarity. In conclusion, our study underlines that herpesviral core NEC proteins are functionally conserved regarding complementarity of core NEC interactions, which were found either virus-specific or restricted within subfamilies.
Project description:Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) pUL93 and pUL77 are both essential for virus growth, but their functions in the virus life cycle remain mostly unresolved. Homologs of pUL93 and pUL77 in herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) and pseudorabies virus (PRV) are known to interact to form a complex at capsid vertices known as the capsid vertex-specific component (CVSC), which likely stabilizes nucleocapsids during virus maturation and also aids in nuclear egress. In herpesviruses, nucleocapsids assemble and partially mature in nuclear replication compartments and then travel to the inner nuclear membrane (INM) for nuclear egress. The factors governing the recruitment of nucleocapsids to the INM are not known. Kinetic analysis of pUL93 demonstrates that this protein is expressed late during infection and localizes primarily to the nucleus of infected cells. pUL93 associates with both virions and capsids and interacts with the components of the nuclear egress complex (NEC), namely, pUL50, pUL53, and pUL97, during infection. Also, multiple regions in pUL93 can independently interact with pUL77, which has been shown to help retain viral DNA during capsid assembly. These studies, combined with our earlier report of an essential role of pUL93 in viral DNA packaging, indicate that pUL93 serves as an important link between nucleocapsid maturation and nuclear egress.HCMV causes life-threatening disease and disability in immunocompromised patients and congenitally infected newborns. In this study, we investigated the functions of HCMV essential tegument protein pUL93 and determined that it interacts with the components of the nuclear egress complex, namely, pUL50, pUL53, and pUL97. We also found that pUL93 specifically interacts with pUL77, which helps retain viral DNA during capsid assembly. Together, our data point toward an important role of pUL93 in linking virus maturation to nuclear egress. In addition to expanding our knowledge of the process of HCMV maturation, information from these studies will also be utilized to develop new antiviral therapies.
Project description:The nuclear phase of herpesvirus replication is regulated through the formation of regulatory multi-component protein complexes. Viral genomic replication is followed by nuclear capsid assembly, DNA encapsidation and nuclear egress. The latter has been studied intensely pointing to the formation of a viral core nuclear egress complex (NEC) that recruits a multimeric assembly of viral and cellular factors for the reorganization of the nuclear envelope. To date, the mechanism of the association of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) capsids with the NEC, which in turn initiates the specific steps of nuclear capsid budding, remains undefined. Here, we provide electron microscopy-based data demonstrating the association of both nuclear capsids and NEC proteins at nuclear lamina budding sites. Specifically, immunogold labelling of the core NEC constituent pUL53 and NEC-associated viral kinase pUL97 suggested an intranuclear NEC-capsid interaction. Staining patterns with phospho-specific lamin A/C antibodies are compatible with earlier postulates of targeted capsid egress at lamina-depleted areas. Important data were provided by co-immunoprecipitation and in vitro kinase analyses using lysates from HCMV-infected cells, nuclear fractions, or infectious virions. Data strongly suggest that nuclear capsids interact with pUL53 and pUL97. Combined, the findings support a refined concept of HCMV nuclear trafficking and NEC-capsid interaction.
Project description:In all eukaryotic cells, the nucleus forms a prominent cellular compartment containing the cell's nuclear genome. Although structurally similar, animal and plant nuclei differ substantially in details of their architecture. One example is the nuclear lamina, a layer of tightly interconnected filament proteins (lamins) underlying the nuclear envelope of metazoans. So far no orthologous lamin genes could be detected in plant genomes and putative lamin-like proteins are only poorly described in plants. To probe for potentially conserved features of metazoan and plant nuclear envelopes, we ectopically expressed the core nuclear egress proteins of human cytomegalovirus pUL50 and pUL53 in plant cells. pUL50 localizes to the inner envelope of metazoan nuclei and recruits the nuclear localized pUL53 to it, forming heterodimers. Upon expression in plant cells, a very similar localization pattern of both proteins could be determined. Notably, pUL50 is specifically targeted to the plant nuclear envelope in a rim-like fashion, a location to which coexpressed pUL53 becomes strictly corecruited from its initial nucleoplasmic distribution. Using pUL50 as bait in a yeast two-hybrid screening, the cytoplasmic re-initiation supporting protein RISP could be identified. Interaction of pUL50 and RISP could be confirmed by coexpression and coimmunoprecipitation in mammalian cells and by confocal laser scanning microscopy in plant cells, demonstrating partial pUL50-RISP colocalization in areas of the nuclear rim and other intracellular compartments. Thus, our study provides strong evidence for conserved structural features of plant and metazoan nuclear envelops and identifies RISP as a potential pUL50-interacting plant protein.
Project description:During herpesvirus infection, egress of nascent viral capsids from the nucleus is mediated by the viral nuclear egress complex (NEC). NEC deforms the inner nuclear membrane (INM) around the capsid by forming a hexagonal array. However, how the NEC coat interacts with the capsid and how curved coats are generated to enable budding is yet unclear. Here, by structure-guided truncations, confocal microscopy, and cryoelectron tomography, we show that binding of the capsid protein UL25 promotes the formation of NEC pentagons rather than hexagons. We hypothesize that during nuclear budding, binding of UL25 situated at the pentagonal capsid vertices to the NEC at the INM promotes formation of NEC pentagons that would anchor the NEC coat to the capsid. Incorporation of NEC pentagons at the points of contact with the vertices would also promote assembly of the curved hexagonal NEC coat around the capsid, leading to productive egress of UL25-decorated capsids.
Project description:Viral proteins pUL16 and pUL21 are required for efficient nuclear egress of herpes simplex virus 2 capsids. To better understand the role of these proteins in nuclear egress, we established whether nuclear egress complex (NEC) distribution and/or function was altered in the absence of either pUL16 or pUL21. NEC distribution in cells infected with pUL16-deficient viruses was indistinguishable from that observed in cells infected with wild-type viruses. In contrast, NEC distribution was aberrant in cells infected with pUL21-deficient virus and, instead, showed some similarity to the aberrant NEC distribution pattern observed in cells infected with pUs3-deficient virus. These results indicated that pUL16 plays a role in nuclear egress that is distinct from that of pUL21 and pUs3. Higher-resolution examination of nuclear envelope ultrastructure in cells infected with pUL21-deficient viruses by transmission electron microscopy showed different types of nuclear envelope perturbations, including some that were not observed in cells infected with pUs3 deficient virus. The formation of the nuclear envelope perturbations observed in pUL21-deficient virus infections was dependent on a functional NEC, revealing a novel role for pUL21 in regulating NEC activity. The results of comparisons of nuclear envelope ultrastructure in cells infected with viruses lacking pUs3, pUL16, or both pUs3 and pUL16 were consistent with a role for pUL16 in advance of primary capsid envelopment and shed new light on how pUs3 functions in nuclear egress.IMPORTANCE The membrane deformation activity of the herpesvirus nuclear egress complex (NEC) allows capsids to transit through both nuclear membranes into the cytoplasm. NEC activity must be precisely controlled during viral infection, and yet our knowledge of how NEC activity is controlled is incomplete. To determine how pUL16 and pUL21, two viral proteins required for nuclear egress of herpes simplex virus 2, function in nuclear egress, we examined how the lack of each protein impacted NEC distribution. These analyses revealed a function of pUL16 in nuclear egress distinct from that of pUL21, uncovered a novel role for pUL21 in regulating NEC activity, and shed new light on how a viral kinase, pUs3, regulates nuclear egress. Nuclear egress of capsids is required for all herpesviruses. A complete understanding of all aspects of nuclear egress, including how viral NEC activity is controlled, may yield strategies to disrupt this process and aid the development of herpes-specific antiviral therapies.