Membrane-containing virus particles exhibit the mechanics of a composite material for genome protection.
ABSTRACT: The protection of the viral genome during extracellular transport is an absolute requirement for virus survival and replication. In addition to the almost universal proteinaceous capsids, certain viruses add a membrane layer that encloses their double-stranded (ds) DNA genome within the protein shell. Using the membrane-containing enterobacterial virus PRD1 as a prototype, and a combination of nanoindentation assays by atomic force microscopy and finite element modelling, we show that PRD1 provides a greater stability against mechanical stress than that achieved by the majority of dsDNA icosahedral viruses that lack a membrane. We propose that the combination of a stiff and brittle proteinaceous shell coupled with a soft and compliant membrane vesicle yields a tough composite nanomaterial well-suited to protect the viral DNA during extracellular transport.
Project description:Carboxysomes are proteinaceous organelles that play essential roles in enhancing carbon fixation in cyanobacteria and some proteobacteria. These self-assembling organelles encapsulate Ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) and carbonic anhydrase using a protein shell structurally resembling an icosahedral viral capsid. The protein shell serves as a physical barrier to protect enzymes from the cytosol and a selectively permeable membrane to mediate transport of enzyme substrates and products. The structural and mechanical nature of native carboxysomes remain unclear. Here, we isolate functional β-carboxysomes from the cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus PCC7942 and perform the first characterization of the macromolecular architecture and inherent physical mechanics of single β-carboxysomes using electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy (AFM) and proteomics. Our results illustrate that the intact β-carboxysome comprises three structural domains, a single-layered icosahedral shell, an inner layer and paracrystalline arrays of interior Rubisco. We also observe the protein organization of the shell and partial β-carboxysomes that likely serve as the β-carboxysome assembly intermediates. Furthermore, the topography and intrinsic mechanics of functional β-carboxysomes are determined in native conditions using AFM and AFM-based nanoindentation, revealing the flexible organization and soft mechanical properties of β-carboxysomes compared to rigid viruses. Our study provides new insights into the natural characteristics of β-carboxysome organization and nanomechanics, which can be extended to diverse bacterial microcompartments and are important considerations for the design and engineering of functional carboxysomes in other organisms to supercharge photosynthesis. It offers an approach for inspecting the structural and mechanical features of synthetic metabolic organelles and protein scaffolds in bioengineering.
Project description:PRD1 is a bacteriophage with an icosahedral outer protein layer surrounding the viral membrane, which encloses the linear double-stranded DNA genome. PRD1 infects gram-negative cells harboring a conjugative IncP plasmid. Here we studied the lytic functions of PRD1. Using infected cells and plasmid-borne lysis genes, we demonstrated that a two-component lysis system (holin-endolysin) operates to release progeny phage particles from the host cell. Monitoring of ion fluxes and the ATP content of the infected cells allowed us to build a model of the sequence of lysis-related physiological changes. A decrease in the intracellular level of ATP is the earliest indicator of cell lysis, followed by the leakage of K+ from the cytosol approximately 20 min prior to the decrease in culture turbidity. However, the K+ efflux does not immediately lead to the depolarization of the cytoplasmic membrane or leakage of the intracellular ATP. These effects are observed only approximately 5 to 10 min prior to cell lysis. Similar results were obtained using cells expressing the holin and endolysin genes from plasmids.
Project description:Icosahedral double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) bacterial viruses are known to package their genomes into preformed procapsids via a unique portal vertex. Bacteriophage PRD1 differs from the more commonly known icosahedral dsDNA phages in that it contains an internal lipid membrane. The packaging of PRD1 is known to proceed via preformed empty capsids. Now, a unique vertex has been shown to exist in PRD1. We show in this study that this unique vertex extends to the virus internal membrane via two integral membrane proteins, P20 and P22. These small membrane proteins are necessary for the binding of the putative packaging ATPase P9, via another capsid protein, P6, to the virus particle.
Project description:Holin proteins are phage-induced integral membrane proteins which regulate the access of lytic enzymes to host cell peptidoglycan at the time of release of progeny viruses by host cell lysis. We describe the identification of the membrane-containing phage PRD1 holin gene (gene XXXV). The PRD1 holin protein (P35, 12.8 kDa) acts similarly to its functional counterpart from phage lambda (gene S), and the defect in PRD1 gene XXXV can be corrected by the presence of gene S of lambda. Several nonsense, missense, and insertion mutations in PRD1 gene XXXV were analyzed. These studies support the overall conclusion that the charged amino acids at the protein C terminus are involved in the timing of host cell lysis.
Project description:The temperate double-stranded DNA bacteriophage Bam35 infects gram-positive Bacillus thuringiensis cells. Bam35 has an icosahedral protein coat surrounding the viral membrane that encloses the linear 15-kbp DNA genome. The protein coat of Bam35 uses the same assembly principle as that of PRD1, a lytic bacteriophage infecting gram-negative hosts. In this study, we dissected the process of Bam35 entry into discrete steps: receptor binding, peptidoglycan penetration, and interaction with the plasma membrane (PM). Bam35 very rapidly adsorbs to the cell surface, and N-acetyl-muramic acid is essential for Bam35 binding. Zymogram analysis demonstrated that peptidoglycan-hydrolyzing activity is associated with the Bam35 virion. We showed that the penetration of Bam35 through the PM is a divalent-cation-dependent process, whereas adsorption and peptidoglycan digestion are not.
Project description:Bacterial microcompartments (BMCs) are specialized organelles that use proteinaceous membranes to confine chemical reaction spaces. The ethanolamine ammonialyase microcompartment of Escherichia coli represents such a class of cytosolic organelles that enables bacteria to survive on small organic molecules such as ethanolamine as the sole source for carbon and nitrogen. We present here the crystal structure of the shell protein EutL at 2.2-A resolution. With 219 residues, it is the largest representative of this BMC's shell proteins. In the crystal, EutL forms a trimer that exhibits a hexagonally shaped tile structure. The tiles arrange into a tightly packed 2D array that is likely to resemble the proteinaceous membrane of the intact BMC. In contrast to other BMC shell proteins, which have only 1 pore per tile, EutL exhibits 3 pores per tile, thereby significantly increasing the overall porosity of this protein membrane. Each of the individual pores is lined with negatively charged residues and aromatic residues that are proposed to facilitate passive transport of specific solutes. The characteristic shape of the hexagonal tile, which is also found in the microcompartments of carbon-fixating bacteria, may present an inherent and fundamental building unit that may provide a general explanation for the formation of differently sized microcompartments.
Project description:The vertical double β-barrel major capsid protein (MCP) fold, fingerprint of the PRD1-adeno viral lineage, is widespread in many viruses infecting organisms across the three domains of life. The discovery of PRD1-like viruses with two MCPs challenged the known assembly principles. Here, we present the cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) structures of the archaeal, halophilic, internal membrane-containing Haloarcula californiae icosahedral virus 1 (HCIV-1) and Haloarcula hispanica icosahedral virus 2 (HHIV-2) at 3.7 and 3.8 Å resolution, respectively. Our structures reveal proteins located beneath the morphologically distinct two- and three-tower capsomers and homopentameric membrane proteins at the vertices that orchestrate the positioning of pre-formed vertical single β-barrel MCP heterodimers. The cryo-EM based structures together with the proteomics data provide insights into the assembly mechanism of this type of viruses and into those with membrane-less double β-barrel MCPs.
Project description:Many of the largest known viruses belong to the PRD1-adeno structural lineage characterised by conserved pseudo-hexameric capsomers composed of three copies of a single major capsid protein (MCP). Here, by high-resolution cryo-EM analysis, we show that a class of archaeal viruses possess hetero-hexameric MCPs which mimic the PRD1-adeno lineage trimer. These hetero-hexamers are built from heterodimers and utilise a jigsaw-puzzle system of pegs and holes, and underlying minor capsid proteins, to assemble the capsid laterally from the 5-fold vertices. At these vertices proteins engage inwards with the internal membrane vesicle whilst 2-fold symmetric horn-like structures protrude outwards. The horns are assembled from repeated globular domains attached to a central spine, presumably facilitating multimeric attachment to the cell receptor. Such viruses may represent precursors of the main PRD1-adeno lineage, similarly engaging cell-receptors via 5-fold spikes and using minor proteins to define particle size.
Project description:Two crucial steps in the virus life cycle are genome encapsidation to form an infective virion and genome exit to infect the next host cell. In most icosahedral double-stranded (ds) DNA viruses, the viral genome enters and exits the capsid through a unique vertex. Internal membrane-containing viruses possess additional complexity as the genome must be translocated through the viral membrane bilayer. Here, we report the structure of the genome packaging complex with a membrane conduit essential for viral genome encapsidation in the tailless icosahedral membrane-containing bacteriophage PRD1. We utilize single particle electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM) and symmetry-free image reconstruction to determine structures of PRD1 virion, procapsid, and packaging deficient mutant particles. At the unique vertex of PRD1, the packaging complex replaces the regular 5-fold structure and crosses the lipid bilayer. These structures reveal that the packaging ATPase P9 and the packaging efficiency factor P6 form a dodecameric portal complex external to the membrane moiety, surrounded by ten major capsid protein P3 trimers. The viral transmembrane density at the special vertex is assigned to be a hexamer of heterodimer of proteins P20 and P22. The hexamer functions as a membrane conduit for the DNA and as a nucleating site for the unique vertex assembly. Our structures show a conformational alteration in the lipid membrane after the P9 and P6 are recruited to the virion. The P8-genome complex is then packaged into the procapsid through the unique vertex while the genome terminal protein P8 functions as a valve that closes the channel once the genome is inside. Comparing mature virion, procapsid, and mutant particle structures led us to propose an assembly pathway for the genome packaging apparatus in the PRD1 virion.
Project description:We recently demonstrated that the large Pseudomonas chlororaphis bacteriophage 201?2-1 assembles a nucleus-like structure that encloses phage DNA and segregates proteins according to function, with DNA processing proteins inside and metabolic enzymes and ribosomes outside the nucleus. Here, we investigate the replication pathway of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteriophages ?KZ and ?PA3. Bacteriophages ?KZ and ?PA3 encode a proteinaceous shell that assembles a nucleus-like structure that compartmentalizes proteins and DNA during viral infection. We show that the tubulin-like protein PhuZ encoded by each phage assembles a bipolar spindle that displays dynamic instability and positions the nucleus at midcell. Our results suggest that the phage spindle and nucleus play the same functional role in all three phages, 201?2-1, ?KZ, and ?PA3, demonstrating that these key structures are conserved among large Pseudomonas phages.