The ER Membrane Protein Complex Promotes Biogenesis of Dengue and Zika Virus Non-structural Multi-pass Transmembrane Proteins to Support Infection.
ABSTRACT: Although flaviviruses co-opt the function of the host endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane protein complex (EMC) during infection, a mechanistic explanation for this observation remains unclear. Here, we show that the EMC promotes biogenesis of dengue virus (DENV) and Zika virus (ZIKV) non-structural multi-pass transmembrane proteins NS4A and NS4B, which are necessary for viral replication. The EMC binds to NS4B and colocalizes with the DENV replication organelle. Mapping analysis reveals that the two N-terminal marginally hydrophobic domains of NS4B confer EMC dependency. Furthermore, altering the hydrophobicity of these two marginally hydrophobic domains relieves NS4B's EMC dependency. We demonstrate that NS4B biogenesis, but not its stability, is reduced in EMC-depleted cells. Our data suggest that the EMC acts as a multi-pass transmembrane chaperone required for expression of at least two virally encoded proteins essential for flavivirus infection and point to a shared vulnerability during the viral life cycle that could be exploited for antiviral therapy.
Project description:Flaviviruses translate their genomes as multi-pass transmembrane proteins at the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane. Here, we show that the ER membrane protein complex (EMC) is indispensable for the expression of viral polyproteins. We demonstrated that EMC was essential for accurate folding and post-translational stability rather than translation efficiency. Specifically, we revealed degradation of NS4A-NS4B, a region rich in transmembrane domains, in absence of EMC. Orthogonally, by serial passaging of virus on EMC-deficient cells, we identified two non-synonymous point mutations in NS4A and NS4B, which rescued viral replication. Finally, we showed a physical interaction between EMC and viral NS4B and that the NS4A-4B region adopts an aberrant topology in the absence of the EMC leading to degradation. Together, our data highlight how flaviviruses hijack the EMC for transmembrane protein biogenesis to achieve optimal expression of their polyproteins, which reinforces a role for the EMC in stabilizing challenging transmembrane proteins during synthesis.
Project description:Flavivirus replication is mediated by a membrane-associated replication complex where viral membrane proteins NS2A, NS2B, NS4A, and NS4B serve as the scaffold for the replication complex formation. Here, we used dengue virus serotype 2 (DENV-2) as a model to characterize viral NS4A-NS4B interaction. NS4A interacts with NS4B in virus-infected cells and in cells transiently expressing NS4A and NS4B in the absence of other viral proteins. Recombinant NS4A and NS4B proteins directly bind to each other with an estimated Kd (dissociation constant) of 50 nM. Amino acids 40 to 76 (spanning the first transmembrane domain, consisting of amino acids 50 to 73) of NS4A and amino acids 84 to 146 (also spanning the first transmembrane domain, consisting of amino acids 101 to 129) of NS4B are the determinants for NS4A-NS4B interaction. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analysis suggests that NS4A residues 17 to 80 form two amphipathic helices (helix ?1, comprised of residues 17 to 32, and helix ?2, comprised of residues 40 to 47) that associate with the cytosolic side of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane and helix ?3 (residues 52 to 75) that transverses the ER membrane. In addition, NMR analysis identified NS4A residues that may participate in the NS4A-NS4B interaction. Amino acid substitution of these NS4A residues exhibited distinct effects on viral replication. Three of the four NS4A mutations (L48A, T54A, and L60A) that affected the NS4A-NS4B interaction abolished or severely reduced viral replication; in contrast, two NS4A mutations (F71A and G75A) that did not affect NS4A-NS4B interaction had marginal effects on viral replication, demonstrating the biological relevance of the NS4A-NS4B interaction to DENV-2 replication. Taken together, the study has provided experimental evidence to argue that blocking the NS4A-NS4B interaction could be a potential antiviral approach.Flavivirus NS4A and NS4B proteins are essential components of the ER membrane-associated replication complex. The current study systematically characterizes the interaction between flavivirus NS4A and NS4B. Using DENV-2 as a model, we show that NS4A interacts with NS4B in virus-infected cells, in cells transiently expressing NS4A and NS4B proteins, or in vitro with recombinant NS4A and NS4B proteins. We mapped the minimal regions required for the NS4A-NS4B interaction to be amino acids 40 to 76 of NS4A and amino acids 84 to 146 of NS4B. NMR analysis revealed the secondary structure of amino acids 17 to 80 of NS4A and the NS4A amino acids that may participate in the NS4A-NS4B interaction. Functional analysis showed a correlation between viral replication and NS4A-NS4B interaction, demonstrating the biological importance of the NS4A-NS4B interaction. The study has advanced our knowledge of the molecular function of flavivirus NS4A and NS4B proteins. The results also suggest that inhibitors of the NS4A-NS4B interaction could be pursued for flavivirus antiviral development.
Project description:Dengue virus (DENV) replication is inhibited by the prior addition of type I interferon or by RIG-I agonists that elicit RIG-I/MAVS/TBK1/IRF3-dependent protective responses. DENV infection of primary human endothelial cells (ECs) results in a rapid increase in viral titer, which suggests that DENV inhibits replication-restrictive RIG-I/interferon beta (IFN-β) induction pathways within ECs. Our findings demonstrate that DENV serotype 4 (DENV4) nonstructural (NS) proteins NS2A and NS4B inhibited RIG-I-, MDA5-, MAVS-, and TBK1/IKKε-directed IFN-β transcription (>80%) but failed to inhibit IFN-β induction directed by STING or constitutively active IRF3-5D. Expression of NS2A and NS4B dose dependently inhibited the phosphorylation of TBK1 and IRF3, which suggests that they function at the level of TBK1 complex activation. NS2A and NS4B from DENV1/2/4, as well as the West Nile virus NS4B protein, commonly inhibited TBK1 phosphorylation and IFN-β induction. A comparative analysis of NS4A proteins across DENVs demonstrated that DENV1, but not DENV2 or DENV4, NS4A proteins uniquely inhibited TBK1. These findings indicate that DENVs contain conserved (NS2A/NS4B) and DENV1-specific (NS4A) mechanisms for inhibiting RIG-I/TBK1-directed IFN responses. Collectively, our results define DENV NS proteins that restrict IRF3 and IFN responses and thereby facilitate DENV replication and virulence. Unique DENV1-specific NS4A regulation of IFN induction has the potential to be a virulence determinant that contributes to the increased severity of DENV1 infections and the immunodominance of DENV1 responses during tetravalent DENV1-4 vaccination.Our findings demonstrate that NS2A and NS4B proteins from dengue virus serotypes 1, 2, and 4 are inhibitors of RIG-I/MDA5-directed interferon beta (IFN-β) induction and that they accomplish this by blocking TBK1 activation. We determined that IFN inhibition is functionally conserved across NS4B proteins from West Nile virus and DENV1, -2, and -4 viruses. In contrast, DENV1 uniquely encodes an extra IFN regulating protein, NS4A, that inhibits TBK1-directed IFN induction. DENV1 is associated with an increase in severe patient disease, and added IFN regulation by the DENV1 NS4A protein may contribute to increased DENV1 replication, immunodominance, and virulence. The regulation of IFN induction by nonstructural (NS) proteins suggests their potential roles in enhancing viral replication and spread and as potential protein targets for viral attenuation. DENV1-specific IFN regulation needs to be considered in vaccine strategies where enhanced DENV1 replication may interfere with DENV2-4 seroconversion within coadministered tetravalent DENV1-4 vaccines.
Project description:The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) membrane protein complex (EMC) is a key contributor to biogenesis and membrane integration of transmembrane proteins, but our understanding of its mechanisms and the range of EMC-dependent proteins remains incomplete. Here, we carried out an unbiased mass spectrometry (MS)-based quantitative proteomic analysis comparing membrane proteins in EMC-deficient cells to wild-type (WT) cells and identified 36 EMC-dependent membrane proteins and 171 EMC-independent membrane proteins. Of these, six EMC-dependent and six EMC-independent proteins were further independently validated. We found that a common feature among EMC-dependent proteins is that they contain transmembrane domains (TMDs) with polar and/or charged residues. Mutagenesis studies demonstrate that EMC dependency can be converted in cells by removing or introducing polar and/or charged residues within TMDs. Our studies expand the list of validated EMC-dependent and EMC-independent proteins and suggest that the EMC is involved in handling TMDs with residues challenging for membrane integration.
Project description:Hundreds of cellular host factors are required to support dengue virus infection, but their identity and roles are incompletely characterized. Here, we identify human host dependency factors required for efficient dengue virus-2 (DENV2) infection of human cells. We focused on two, TTC35 and TMEM111, which we previously demonstrated to be required for yellow fever virus (YFV) infection and others subsequently showed were also required by other flaviviruses. These proteins are components of the human endoplasmic reticulum membrane protein complex (EMC), which has roles in ER-associated protein biogenesis and lipid metabolism. We report that DENV, YFV and Zika virus (ZIKV) infections were strikingly inhibited, while West Nile virus infection was unchanged, in cells that lack EMC subunit 4. Furthermore, targeted depletion of EMC subunits in live mosquitoes significantly reduced DENV2 propagation in vivo. Using a novel uncoating assay, which measures interactions between host RNA-binding proteins and incoming viral RNA, we show that EMC is required at or prior to virus uncoating. Importantly, we uncovered a second and important role for the EMC. The complex is required for viral protein accumulation in a cell line harboring a ZIKV replicon, indicating that EMC participates in the complex process of viral protein biogenesis.
Project description:Most membrane proteins are synthesized on and inserted into the membrane of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), in eukaryote. The widely conserved ER membrane protein complex (EMC) facilitates the biogenesis of a wide range of membrane proteins. In this study, we investigated the EMC function using Drosophila photoreceptor as a model system. We found that the EMC was necessary only for the biogenesis of a subset of multipass membrane proteins such as rhodopsin (Rh1), TRP, TRPL, Csat, Cni, SERCA, and Na+K+ATPase ?, but not for that of secretory or single-pass membrane proteins. Additionally, in EMC-deficient cells, Rh1 was translated to its C terminus but degraded independently from ER-associated degradation. Thus, EMC exerted its effect after translation but before or during the membrane integration of transmembrane domains (TMDs). Finally, we found that EMC was not required for the stable expression of the first three TMDs of Rh1 but was required for that of the fourth and fifth TMDs. Our results suggested that EMC is required for the ER membrane insertion of succeeding TMDs of multipass membrane proteins.
Project description:The Flavivirus genus comprises several human pathogens such as dengue virus (DENV), Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), and Zika virus (ZIKV). Although ZIKV usually causes mild symptoms, growing evidence is linking it to congenital birth defects and to increased risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome. ZIKV encodes a polyprotein that is processed to produce three structural and seven nonstructural (NS) proteins. We investigated the evolution of the viral polyprotein in ZIKV and in related flaviviruses (DENV, Spondweni virus, and Kedougou virus). After accounting for saturation issues, alignment uncertainties, and recombination, we found evidence of episodic positive selection on the branch that separates DENV from the other flaviviruses. NS1 emerged as the major selection target, and selected sites were located in immune epitopes or in functionally important protein regions. Three of these sites are located in an NS1 region that interacts with structural proteins and is essential for virion biogenesis. Analysis of the more recent evolutionary history of ZIKV lineages indicated that positive selection acted on NS5 and NS4B, this latter representing the preferential target. All selected sites were located in the N-terminal portion of NS4B, which inhibits interferon response. One of the positively selected sites (26M/I/T/V) in ZIKV also represents a selection target in sylvatic DENV2 isolates, and a nearby residue evolves adaptively in JEV. Two additional positively selected sites are within a protein region that interacts with host (e.g. STING) and viral (i.e. NS1, NS4A) proteins. Notably, mutations in the NS4B region of other flaviviruses modulate neurovirulence and/or neuroinvasiveness. These results suggest that the positively selected sites we identified modulate viral replication and contribute to immune evasion. These sites should be prioritized in future experimental studies. However, analyses herein detected no selective events associated to the spread of the Asian/American ZIKV lineage.
Project description:Dengue virus (DENV) has emerged as major human pathogen. Despite the serious socio-economic impact of DENV-associated diseases, antiviral therapy is missing. DENV replicates in the cytoplasm of infected cells and induces a membranous replication organelle, formed by invaginations of the endoplasmic reticulum membrane and designated vesicle packets (VPs). Nonstructural protein 1 (NS1) of DENV is a multifunctional protein. It is secreted from cells to counteract antiviral immune responses, but also critically contributes to the severe clinical manifestations of dengue. In addition, NS1 is indispensable for viral RNA replication, but the underlying molecular mechanism remains elusive. In this study, we employed a combination of genetic, biochemical and imaging approaches to dissect the determinants in NS1 contributing to its various functions in the viral replication cycle. Several important observations were made. First, we identified a cluster of amino acid residues in the exposed region of the ?-ladder domain of NS1 that are essential for NS1 secretion. Second, we revealed a novel interaction of NS1 with the NS4A-2K-4B cleavage intermediate, but not with mature NS4A or NS4B. This interaction is required for RNA replication, with two residues within the connector region of the NS1 "Wing" domain being crucial for binding of the NS4A-2K-4B precursor. By using a polyprotein expression system allowing the formation of VPs in the absence of viral RNA replication, we show that the NS1 -NS4A-2K-4B interaction is not required for VP formation, arguing that the association between these two proteins plays a more direct role in the RNA amplification process. Third, through analysis of polyproteins containing deletions in NS1, and employing a trans-complementation assay, we show that both cis and trans acting elements within NS1 contribute to VP formation, with the capability of NS1 mutants to form VPs correlating with their capability to support RNA replication. In conclusion, these results reveal a direct role of NS1 in VP formation that is independent from RNA replication, and argue for a critical function of a previously unrecognized NS4A-2K-NS4B precursor specifically interacting with NS1 and promoting viral RNA replication.
Project description:Dengue virus serotype 2 (DENV-2) isolates have been implicated in deadly outbreaks of dengue fever (DF) and dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) in several regions of the world. Phylogenetic analysis of DENV-2 isolates collected from particular countries has been performed using partial or individual genes but only a few studies have examined complete whole-genome sequences collected worldwide. Herein, 50 complete genome sequences of DENV-2 isolates, reported over the past 70 years from 19 different countries, were downloaded from GenBank. Phylogenetic analysis was conducted and evolutionary distances of the 50 DENV-2 isolates were determined using maximum likelihood (ML) trees or Bayesian phylogenetic analysis created from complete genome nucleotide (nt) and amino acid (aa) sequences or individual gene sequences. The results showed that all DENV-2 isolates fell into seven main groups containing five previously defined genotypes. A Cosmopolitan genotype showed further division into three groups (C-I, C-II, and C-III) with the C-I group containing two subgroups (C-IA and C-IB). Comparison of the aa sequences showed specific mutations among the various groups of DENV-2 isolates. A maximum number of aa mutations was observed in the NS5 gene, followed by the NS2A, NS3 and NS1 genes, while the smallest number of aa substitutions was recorded in the capsid gene, followed by the PrM/M, NS4A, and NS4B genes. Maximum evolutionary distances were found in the NS2A gene, followed by the NS4A and NS4B genes. Based on these results, we propose that genotyping of DENV-2 isolates in future studies should be performed on entire genome sequences in order to gain a complete understanding of the evolution of various isolates reported from different geographical locations around the world.
Project description:A common feature associated with the replication of most RNA viruses is the formation of a unique membrane environment encapsulating the viral replication complex. For their part, flaviviruses are no exception, whereupon infection causes a dramatic rearrangement and induction of unique membrane structures within the cytoplasm of infected cells. These virus-induced membranes, termed paracrystalline arrays, convoluted membranes, and vesicle packets, all appear to have specific functions during replication and are derived from different organelles within the host cell. The aim of this study was to identify which protein(s) specified by the Australian strain of West Nile virus, Kunjin virus (KUNV), are responsible for the dramatic membrane alterations observed during infection. Thus, we have shown using immunolabeling of ultrathin cryosections of transfected cells that expression of the KUNV polyprotein intermediates NS4A-4B and NS2B-3-4A, as well as that of individual NS4A proteins with and without the C-terminal transmembrane domain 2K, resulted in different degrees of rearrangement of cytoplasmic membranes. The formation of the membrane structures characteristic for virus infection required coexpression of an NS4A-NS4B cassette with the viral protease NS2B-3pro which was shown to be essential for the release of the individual NS4A and NS4B proteins. Individual expression of NS4A protein retaining the C-terminal transmembrane domain 2K resulted in the induction of membrane rearrangements most resembling virus-induced structures, while removal of the 2K domain led to a less profound membrane rearrangement but resulted in the redistribution of the NS4A protein to the Golgi apparatus. The results show that cleavage of the KUNV polyprotein NS4A-4B by the viral protease is the key initiation event in the induction of membrane rearrangement and that the NS4A protein intermediate containing the uncleaved C-terminal transmembrane domain plays an essential role in these membrane rearrangements.