Cell surface delivery of the measles virus nucleoprotein: a viral strategy to induce immunosuppression.
ABSTRACT: Although only a few blood cells are infected during measles, this infectious disease is followed by acute immunosuppression, associated with high infant mortality. Measles virus nucleoprotein has been suggested to contribute to virus-induced inhibition of the immune response. However, it has been difficult to understand how this cytosolic viral protein could leave an infected cell and then perturb the immune response. Here we demonstrate that intracellularly synthesized nucleoprotein enters the late endocytic compartment, where it recruits its cellular ligand, the Fcgamma receptor. Nucleoprotein is then expressed at the surfaces of infected leukocytes associated with the Fcgamma receptor and is secreted into the extracellular compartment, allowing its interaction with uninfected cells. Finally, cell-derived nucleoprotein inhibits the secretion of interleukin-12 and the generation of the inflammatory reaction, both shown to be impaired during measles. These results reveal nucleoprotein egress from infected cells as a novel strategy in measles-induced immunosuppression.
Project description:Recombinant measles virus nucleoprotein-RNA (N-RNA) helices were analyzed by negative-stain electron microscopy. Three-dimensional reconstructions of trypsin-digested and intact nucleocapsids coupled to the docking of the atomic structure of the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) N-RNA subunit into the electron microscopy density map support a model that places the RNA at the exterior of the helix and the disordered C-terminal domain toward the helix interior, and they suggest the position of the six nucleotides with respect to the measles N protomer.
Project description:The X-ray crystal structure of the Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus nucleoprotein C-terminal immunosuppressive domain (LCMV NP?340) was determined to 2.0?Å resolution. The structure indicates that LCMV NP?340, like the other structurally characterized arenaviral nucleoproteins, adopts the fold of an exonuclease. This structure provides a crucial three-dimensional template for functional exploration of the replication and immunosuppression of this prototypic arenavirus.
Project description:Measles virus nucleoprotein is the most abundant viral protein and tightly encapsidates viral genomic RNA to support viral transcription and replication. Major phosphorylation sites of nucleoprotein include the serine residues at locations 479 and 510. Minor phosphorylation residues have yet to be identified, and their functions are poorly understood. In our present study, we identified nine putative phosphorylation sites by mass spectrometry and demonstrated that threonine residue 279 (T279) is functionally significant. Minigenome expression assays revealed that a mutation at the T279 site caused a loss of activity. Limited proteolysis and electron microscopy suggested that a T279A mutant lacked the ability to encapsidate viral RNA but was not denatured. Furthermore, dephosphorylation of the T279 site by alkaline phosphatase treatment caused deficiencies in nucleocapsid formation. Taken together, these results indicate that phosphorylation at T279 is a prerequisite for successful nucleocapsid formation.
Project description:Measles virus is a negative strand virus and the genomic and antigenomic RNA binds to the nucleoprotein (N), assembling into a helical nucleocapsid. The polymerase complex comprises two proteins, the Large protein (L), that both polymerizes RNA and caps the mRNA, and the phosphoprotein (P) that co-localizes with L on the nucleocapsid. This review presents recent results about N and P, in particular concerning their intrinsically disordered domains. N is a protein of 525 residues with a 120 amino acid disordered C-terminal domain, Ntail. The first 50 residues of Ntail extricate the disordered chain from the nucleocapsid, thereby loosening the otherwise rigid structure, and the C-terminus contains a linear motif that binds P. Recent results show how the 5' end of the viral RNA binds to N within the nucleocapsid and also show that the bases at the 3' end of the RNA are rather accessible to the viral polymerase. P is a tetramer and most of the protein is disordered; comprising 507 residues of which around 380 are disordered. The first 37 residues of P bind N, chaperoning against non-specific interaction with cellular RNA, while a second interaction site, around residue 200 also binds N. In addition, there is another interaction between C-terminal domain of P (XD) and Ntail. These results allow us to propose a new model of how the polymerase binds to the nucleocapsid and suggests a mechanism for initiation of transcription.
Project description:The genetic characterization of wild-type measles viruses plays an important role in the description of viral transmission pathways and the verification of measles elimination. The 450 nucleotides that encode the carboxyl-terminus of the nucleoprotein (N-450) are routinely sequenced for genotype analysis.The objectives of this study were to develop improved primers and controls for RT-PCR reactions used for genotyping of measles samples and to develop a method to provide a convenient, safe, and inexpensive means to distribute measles RNA for RT-PCR assays and practice panels.A newly designed, genetically defined synthetic RNA and RNA isolated from cells infected with currently circulating genotypes were used to compare the sensitivity of primer pairs in RT-PCR and nested PCR. FTA® cards loaded with lysates of measles infected cells were tested for their ability to preserve viral RNA and destroy virus infectivity.A new primer pair, MeV216/MeV214, was able to amplify N-450 from viruses representing 10 currently circulating genotypes and a genotype A vaccine strain and demonstrated 100-fold increased sensitivity compared to the previously used primer set. A nested PCR assay further increased the sensitivity of detection from patient samples. A synthetic positive control RNA was developed that produced PCR products that are distinguishable by size from PCR products amplified from clinical samples. FTA® cards completely inactivated measles virus and stabilized RNA for at least six months.These improved molecular tools will advance molecular characterization of circulating measles viruses globally and provide enhanced quality control measures.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Measles virus nucleoprotein (N) encapsidates the viral RNA, protects it from endonucleases and forms a virus specific template for transcription and replication. It is the most abundant protein during viral infection. Its C-terminal domain is intrinsically disordered imparting it the flexibility to interact with several cellular and viral partners. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In this study, we demonstrate that expression of N within mammalian cells resulted in morphological transitions, nuclear condensation, DNA fragmentation and activation of Caspase 3 eventuating into apoptosis. The rapid generation of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) was involved in the mechanism of cell death. Addition of ascorbic acid (AA) or inhibitor of caspase-3 in the extracellular medium partially reversed N induced apoptosis. We also studied the protein profile of cells expressing N protein. MS analysis revealed the differential expression of 25 proteins out of which 11 proteins were up regulated while 14 show signs of down regulation upon N expression. 2DE results were validated by real time and semi quantitative RT-PCR analysis. CONCLUSION: These results show the pro-apoptotic effects of N indicating its possible development as an apoptogenic tool. Our 2DE results present prima facie evidence that the MV nucleoprotein interacts with or causes differential expression of a wide range of cellular factors. At this stage it is not clear as to what the adaptive response of the host cell is and what reflects a strategic modulation exerted by the virus.
Project description:The enveloped negative-stranded RNA virus measles virus (MeV) is an important human pathogen. The nucleoprotein (N(0)) assembles with the viral RNA into helical ribonucleocapsids (NC) which are, in turn, coated by a helical layer of the matrix protein. The viral polymerase complex uses the NC as its template. The N(0) assembly onto the NC and the activity of the polymerase are regulated by the viral phosphoprotein (P). In this study, we pulled down an N(0)????? fragment lacking most of its C-terminal tail domain by several affinity-tagged, N-terminal P fragments to map the N(0)-binding region of P to the first 48 amino acids. We showed biochemically and using P mutants the importance of the hydrophobic interactions for the binding. We fused an N(0) binding peptide, P????, to the C terminus of an N(0)?????? fragment lacking both the N-terminal peptide and the C-terminal tail of N protein to reconstitute and crystallize the N(0)-P complex. We solved the X-ray structure of the resulting N(0)-P chimeric protein at a resolution of 2.7 Å. The structure reveals the molecular details of the conserved N(0)-P interface and explains how P chaperones N(0), preventing both self-assembly of N(0) and its binding to RNA. Finally, we propose a model for a preinitiation complex for RNA polymerization.Measles virus is an important, highly contagious human pathogen. The nucleoprotein N binds only to viral genomic RNA and forms the helical ribonucleocapsid that serves as a template for viral replication. We address how N is regulated by another protein, the phosphoprotein (P), to prevent newly synthesized N from binding to cellular RNA. We describe the atomic model of an N-P complex and compare it to helical ribonucleocapsid. We thus provide insight into how P chaperones N and helps to start viral RNA synthesis. Our results provide a new insight into mechanisms of paramyxovirus replication. New data on the mechanisms of phosphoprotein chaperone action allows better understanding of virus genome replication and nucleocapsid assembly. We describe a conserved structural interface for the N-P interaction which could be a target for drug development to treat not only measles but also potentially other paramyxovirus diseases.
Project description:The measles virus (MeV) phosphoprotein (P) tethers the polymerase to the nucleocapsid template for transcription and genome replication. Binding of P to nucleocapsid is mediated by the X domain of P (XD) and a conserved sequence (Box-2) within the C-terminal domain of the nucleoprotein (N(TAIL)). XD binding induces N(TAIL) ?-helical folding, which in turn has been proposed to stabilize the polymerase-nucleocapsid complex, with cycles of binding and release required for transcription and genome replication. The current work directly assessed the relationships among XD-induced N(TAIL) folding, XD-N(TAIL) binding affinity, and polymerase activity. Amino acid substitutions that abolished XD-induced N(TAIL) ?-helical folding were created within Box-2 of Edmonston MeV N(TAIL). Polymerase activity in minireplicons was maintained despite a 35-fold decrease in XD-N(TAIL) binding affinity or reduction/loss of XD-induced N(TAIL) alpha-helical folding. Recombinant infectious virus was recovered for all mutants, and transcriptase elongation rates remained within a 1.7-fold range of parent virus. Box-2 mutations did however impose a significant cost to infectivity, reflected in an increase in the amount of input genome required to match the infectivity of parent virus. Diminished infectivity could not be attributed to changes in virion protein composition or production of defective interfering particles, where changes from parent virus were within a 3-fold range. The results indicated that MeV polymerase activity, but not infectivity, tolerates amino acid changes in the XD-binding region of the nucleoprotein. Selectional pressure for conservation of the Box-2 sequence may thus reflect a role in assuring the fidelity of polymerase functions or the assembly of viral particles required for optimal infectivity.
Project description:Measles virus (MV) is hypothesized to enter the host by infecting epithelial cells of the respiratory tract, followed by viremia mediated by infected monocytes. However, neither of these cell types express signaling lymphocyte activation molecule (CD150), which has been identified as the receptor for wild-type MV. We have infected rhesus and cynomolgus macaques with a recombinant MV strain expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP); thus bringing together the optimal animal model for measles and a virus that can be detected with unprecedented sensitivity. Blood samples and broncho-alveolar lavages were collected every 3 d, and necropsies were performed upon euthanasia 9 or 15 d after infection. EGFP production by MV-infected cells was visualized macroscopically, in both living and sacrificed animals, and microscopically by confocal microscopy and FACS analysis. At the peak of viremia, EGFP fluorescence was detected in skin, respiratory and digestive tract, but most intensely in all lymphoid tissues. B- and T-lymphocytes expressing CD150 were the major target cells for MV infection. Highest percentages (up to 30%) of infected lymphocytes were detected in lymphoid tissues, and the virus preferentially targeted cells with a memory phenotype. Unexpectedly, circulating monocytes did not sustain productive MV infection. In peripheral tissues, large numbers of MV-infected CD11c+ MHC class-II+ myeloid dendritic cells were detected in conjunction with infected T-lymphocytes, suggesting transmission of MV between these cell types. Fluorescent imaging of MV infection in non-human primates demonstrated a crucial role for lymphocytes and dendritic cells in the pathogenesis of measles and measles-associated immunosuppression.
Project description:Natural infection with measles virus (MV) establishes lifelong immunity. Persistent infection with MV is likely involved in this phenomenon, as non-replicating protein antigens never induce such long-term immunity. Although MV establishes stable persistent infection in vitro and possibly in vivo, the mechanism by which this occurs is largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that MV changes the infection mode from lytic to non-lytic and evades the innate immune response to establish persistent infection without viral genome mutation. We found that, in the persistent phase, the viral RNA level declined with the termination of interferon production and cell death. Our analysis of viral protein dynamics shows that during the establishment of persistent infection, the nucleoprotein level was sustained while the phosphoprotein and large protein levels declined. The ectopic expression of nucleoprotein suppressed viral replication, indicating that viral replication is self-regulated by nucleoprotein accumulation during persistent infection. The persistently infected cells were able to produce interferon in response to poly I:C stimulation, suggesting that MV does not interfere with host interferon responses in persistent infection. Our results may provide mechanistic insight into the persistent infection of this cytopathic RNA virus that induces lifelong immunity.