Shielding and activation of a viral membrane fusion protein.
ABSTRACT: Entry of enveloped viruses relies on insertion of hydrophobic residues of the viral fusion protein into the host cell membrane. However, the intermediate conformations during fusion remain unknown. Here, we address the fusion mechanism of Rift Valley fever virus. We determine the crystal structure of the Gn glycoprotein and fit it with the Gc fusion protein into cryo-electron microscopy reconstructions of the virion. Our analysis reveals how the Gn shields the hydrophobic fusion loops of the Gc, preventing premature fusion. Electron cryotomography of virions interacting with membranes under acidic conditions reveals how the fusogenic Gc is activated upon removal of the Gn shield. Repositioning of the Gn allows extension of Gc and insertion of fusion loops in the outer leaflet of the target membrane. These data show early structural transitions that enveloped viruses undergo during host cell entry and indicate that analogous shielding mechanisms are utilized across diverse virus families.
Project description:Hantaviruses are zoonotic pathogens that cause severe hemorrhagic fever and pulmonary syndrome. The outer membrane of the hantavirus envelope displays a lattice of two glycoproteins, Gn and Gc, which orchestrate host cell recognition and entry. Here, we describe the crystal structure of the Gn glycoprotein ectodomain from the Asiatic Hantaan virus (HTNV), the most prevalent pathogenic hantavirus. Structural overlay analysis reveals that the HTNV Gn fold is highly similar to the Gn of Puumala virus (PUUV), a genetically and geographically distinct and less pathogenic hantavirus found predominantly in northeastern Europe, confirming that the hantaviral Gn fold is architecturally conserved across hantavirus clades. Interestingly, HTNV Gn crystallized at acidic pH, in a compact tetrameric configuration distinct from the organization at neutral pH. Analysis of the Gn, both in solution and in the context of the virion, confirms the pH-sensitive oligomeric nature of the glycoprotein, indicating that the hantaviral Gn undergoes structural transitions during host cell entry. These data allow us to present a structural model for how acidification during endocytic uptake of the virus triggers the dissociation of the metastable Gn-Gc lattice to enable insertion of the Gc-resident hydrophobic fusion loops into the host cell membrane. Together, these data reveal the dynamic plasticity of the structurally conserved hantaviral surface.IMPORTANCE Although outbreaks of Korean hemorrhagic fever were first recognized during the Korean War (1950 to 1953), it was not until 1978 that they were found to be caused by Hantaan virus (HTNV), the most prevalent pathogenic hantavirus. Here, we describe the crystal structure of HTNV envelope glycoprotein Gn, an integral component of the Gn-Gc glycoprotein spike complex responsible for host cell entry. HTNV Gn is structurally conserved with the Gn of a genetically and geographically distal hantavirus, Puumala virus, indicating that the observed ?/? fold is well preserved across the Hantaviridae family. The combination of our crystal structure with solution state analysis of recombinant protein and electron cryo-microscopy of acidified hantavirus allows us to propose a model for endosome-induced reorganization of the hantaviral glycoprotein lattice. This provides a molecular-level rationale for the exposure of the hydrophobic fusion loops on the Gc, a process required for fusion of viral and cellular membranes.
Project description:Ebolavirus is an enveloped virus causing severe hemorrhagic fever. Its surface glycoproteins undergo proteolytic cleavage and rearrangements to permit membrane fusion and cell entry. Here we focus on the glycoprotein's internal fusion loop (FL), critical for low-pH-triggered fusion in the endosome. Alanine mutations at L529 and I544 and particularly the L529 I544 double mutation compromised viral entry and fusion. The nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) structures of the I544A and L529A I544A mutants in lipid environments showed significant disruption of a three-residue scaffold that is required for the formation of a consolidated fusogenic hydrophobic surface at the tip of the FL. Biophysical experiments and molecular simulation revealed the position of the wild-type (WT) FL in membranes and showed the inability of the inactive double mutant to reach this position. Consolidation of hydrophobic residues at the tip of FLs may be a common requirement for internal FLs of class I, II, and III fusion proteins.Many class I, II, and III viral fusion proteins bear fusion loops for target membrane insertion and fusion. We determined structures of the Ebolavirus fusion loop and found residues critical for forming a consolidated hydrophobic surface, membrane insertion, and viral entry.
Project description:The hantavirus envelope glycoproteins Gn and Gc mediate virion assembly and cell entry, with Gc driving fusion of viral and endosomal membranes. Although the X-ray structures and overall arrangement of Gn and Gc on the hantavirus spikes are known, their detailed interactions are not. Here we show that the lateral contacts between spikes are mediated by the same 2-fold contacts observed in Gc crystals at neutral pH, allowing the engineering of disulfide bonds to cross-link spikes. Disrupting the observed dimer interface affects particle assembly and overall spike stability. We further show that the spikes display a temperature-dependent dynamic behavior at neutral pH, alternating between 'open' and 'closed' forms. We show that the open form exposes the Gc fusion loops but is off-pathway for productive Gc-induced membrane fusion and cell entry. These data also provide crucial new insights for the design of optimized Gn/Gc immunogens to elicit protective immune responses.
Project description:The entry of the enveloped Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) into its host cell is mediated by the viral glycoproteins Gn and Gc. We investigated the RVFV entry process and, in particular, its pH-dependent activation mechanism using our recently developed nonspreading-RVFV-particle system. Entry of the virus into the host cell was efficiently inhibited by lysosomotropic agents that prevent endosomal acidification and by compounds that interfere with dynamin- and clathrin-dependent endocytosis. Exposure of plasma membrane-bound virions to an acidic pH (<pH 6) equivalent to the pH of late endolysosomal compartments allowed the virus to bypass the endosomal route of infection. Acid exposure of virions in the absence of target membranes triggered the class II-like Gc fusion protein to form extremely stable oligomers that were resistant to SDS and temperature dissociation and concomitantly compromised virus infectivity. By targeted mutagenesis of conserved histidines in Gn and Gc, we demonstrated that mutation of a single histidine (H857) in Gc completely abrogated virus entry, as well as acid-induced Gc oligomerization. In conclusion, our data suggest that after endocytic uptake, RVFV traffics to the acidic late endolysosomal compartments, where histidine protonation drives the reorganization of the Gc fusion protein that leads to membrane fusion.
Project description:Many viruses are enveloped by a lipid bilayer acquired during assembly, which is typically studded with one or two types of glycoproteins. These viral surface proteins act as the primary interface between the virus and the host. Entry of enveloped viruses relies on specialized fusogen proteins to help merge the virus membrane with the host membrane. In the multicomponent herpesvirus fusion machinery, glycoprotein B (gB) acts as this fusogen. Although the structure of the gB ectodomain postfusion conformation has been determined, any other conformations (e.g., prefusion, intermediate conformations) have so far remained elusive, thus restricting efforts to develop antiviral treatments and prophylactic vaccines. Here, we have characterized the full-length herpes simplex virus 1 gB in a native membrane by displaying it on cell-derived vesicles and using electron cryotomography. Alongside the known postfusion conformation, a novel one was identified. Its structure, in the context of the membrane, was determined by subvolume averaging and found to be trimeric like the postfusion conformation, but appeared more condensed. Hierarchical constrained density-fitting of domains unexpectedly revealed the fusion loops in this conformation to be apart and pointing away from the anchoring membrane. This vital observation is a substantial step forward in understanding the complex herpesvirus fusion mechanism, and opens up new opportunities for more targeted intervention of herpesvirus entry.
Project description:In recent years, ultrastructural studies of viral surface spikes from three different genera within the Bunyaviridae family have revealed a remarkable diversity in their spike organization. Despite this structural heterogeneity, in every case the spikes seem to be composed of heterodimers formed by Gn and Gc envelope glycoproteins. In this review, current knowledge of the Gn and Gc structures and their functions in virus cell entry and exit is summarized. During virus cell entry, the role of Gn and Gc in receptor binding has not yet been determined. Nevertheless, biochemical studies suggest that the subsequent virus-membrane fusion activity is accomplished by Gc. Further, a class II fusion protein conformation has been predicted for Gc of hantaviruses, and novel crystallographic data confirmed such a fold for the Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) Gc protein. During virus cell exit, the assembly of different viral components seems to be established by interaction of Gn and Gc cytoplasmic tails (CT) with internal viral ribonucleocapsids. Moreover, recent findings show that hantavirus glycoproteins accomplish important roles during virus budding since they self-assemble into virus-like particles. Collectively, these novel insights provide essential information for gaining a more detailed understanding of Gn and Gc functions in the early and late steps of the hantavirus infection cycle.
Project description:The Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) is an arthropod-borne virus that can not only cause severe disease in domestic animals but also in humans. However, the licensed vaccines or available therapeutics for humans do not exist. Here, we report two Gn-specific neutralizing antibodies (NAbs), isolated from a rhesus monkey immunized with recombinant human adenoviruses type 4 expressing Rift Valley fever virus Gn and Gc protein (rHAdV4-GnGcopt). The two NAbs were both able to protect host cells from RVFV infection. The interactions between NAbs and Gn were then characterized to demonstrate that these two NAbs might preclude RVFV glycoprotein rearrangement, hindering the exposure of fusion loops in Gc to endosomal membranes after the virus invades the host cell. The target region for the two NAbs is located in the Gn domain III, implying that Gn is a desired target for developing vaccines and neutralizing antibodies against RVFV.
Project description:The lipid-enveloped influenza virus enters host cells during infection by binding cell-surface receptors and, after receptor-mediated endocytosis, fusing with the membrane of the endosome and delivering the viral genome and transcription machinery into the host cell. These events are mediated by the hemagglutinin (HA) surface glycoprotein. At the low pH of the endosome, an irreversible conformational change in the HA, including the exposure of the hydrophobic fusion peptide, activates membrane fusion. Here we used electron cryomicroscopy and cryotomography to image the fusion of influenza virus with target membranes at low pH. We visualized structural intermediates of HA and their interactions with membranes during the course of membrane fusion as well as ultrastructural changes in the virus that accompany membrane fusion. Our observations are relevant to a wide range of protein-mediated membrane-fusion processes and demonstrate how dynamic membrane events may be studied by cryomicroscopy.
Project description:The molecular mechanism of entry of herpesviruses requires a multicomponent fusion system. Cell invasion by Herpes simplex virus (HSV) requires four virally encoded glycoproteins: namely gD, gB and gH/gL. The role of gB has remained elusive until recently when the crystal structure of HSV-1 gB became available and the fusion potential of gB was clearly demonstrated. Although much information on gB structure/function relationship has been gathered in recent years, the elucidation of the nature of the fine interactions between gB fusion loops and the membrane bilayer may help to understand the precise molecular mechanism behind herpesvirus-host cell membrane fusion. Here, we report the first biophysical study on the two fusion peptides of gB, with a particular focus on the effects determined by both peptides on lipid bilayers of various compositions. The two fusion loops constitute a structural subdomain wherein key hydrophobic amino acids form a ridge that is supported on both sides by charged residues. When used together the two fusion loops have the ability to significantly destabilize the target membrane bilayer, notwithstanding their low bilayer penetration when used separately. These data support the model of gB fusion loops insertion into cholesterol enriched membranes.
Project description:Lassa virus is an enveloped, bi-segmented RNA virus and the most prevalent and fatal of all Old World arenaviruses. Virus entry into the host cell is mediated by a tripartite surface spike complex, which is composed of two viral glycoprotein subunits, GP1 and GP2, and the stable signal peptide. Of these, GP1 binds to cellular receptors and GP2 catalyzes fusion between the viral envelope and the host cell membrane during endocytosis. The molecular structure of the spike and conformational rearrangements induced by low pH, prior to fusion, remain poorly understood. Here, we analyzed the three-dimensional ultrastructure of Lassa virus using electron cryotomography. Sub-tomogram averaging yielded a structure of the glycoprotein spike at 14-Å resolution. The spikes are trimeric, cover the virion envelope, and connect to the underlying matrix. Structural changes to the spike, following acidification, support a viral entry mechanism dependent on binding to the lysosome-resident receptor LAMP1 and further dissociation of the membrane-distal GP1 subunits.