Crystal structure of Mokola virus glycoprotein in its post-fusion conformation.
ABSTRACT: Mokola virus (MOKV) belongs to the lyssavirus genus. As other genus members-including rabies virus (RABV)-it causes deadly encephalitis in mammals. MOKV entry into host cells is mediated by its transmembrane glycoprotein G. First, G binds cellular receptors, triggering virion endocytosis. Then, in the acidic endosomal environment, G undergoes a conformational change from its pre- toward its post-fusion state that catalyzes the merger of the viral and endosomal membranes. Here, we have determined the crystal structure of a soluble MOKV G ectodomain in which the hydrophobic fusion loops have been replaced by more hydrophilic sequences. The crystal structure corresponds to a monomer that is similar to the protomer of the trimeric post-fusion state of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) G. However, by electron microscopy, we show that, at low pH, at the surface of pseudotyped VSV, MOKV spikes adopt the trimeric post-fusion conformation and have a tendency to reorganize into regular arrays. Sequence alignment between MOKV G and RABV G allows a precise location of RABV G antigenic sites. Repositioning MOKV G domains on VSV G pre-fusion structure reveals that antigenic sites are located in the most exposed part of the molecule in its pre-fusion conformation and are therefore very accessible to antibodies. Furthermore, the structure allows the identification of pH-sensitive molecular switches. Specifically, the long helix, which constitutes the core of the post-fusion trimer for class III fusion glycoproteins, contains many acidic residues located at the trimeric interface. Several of them, aligned along the helix, point toward the trimer axis. They have to be protonated for the post-fusion trimer to be stable. At high pH, when they are negatively charged, they destabilize the interface, which explains the conformational change reversibility. Finally, the present structure will be of great help to perform rational mutagenesis on lyssavirus glycoproteins.
Project description:Fusion in members of the Rhabdoviridae virus family is mediated by the G glycoprotein. At low pH, the G glycoprotein catalyzes fusion between viral and endosomal membranes by undergoing a major conformational change from a pre-fusion trimer to a post-fusion trimer. The structure of the G glycoprotein from vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV G), the prototype of Vesiculovirus, has recently been solved in its trimeric pre-fusion and post-fusion conformations; however, little is known about the structural details of the transition. In this work, a soluble form of the ectodomain of Chandipura virus G glycoprotein (CHAV G(th)) was purified using limited proteolysis of purified virus; this soluble ectodomain was also crystallized. This protein shares 41% amino-acid identity with VSV G and thus its structure could provide further clues about the structural transition of rhabdoviral glycoproteins induced by low pH. Crystals of CHAV G(th) obtained at pH 7.5 diffracted X-rays to 3.1 Å resolution. These crystals belonged to the orthorhombic space group P2(1)2(1)2, with unit-cell parameters a = 150.3, b = 228.2, c = 78.8 Å. Preliminary analysis of the data based on the space group and the self-rotation function indicated that there was no trimeric association of the protomers. This unusual oligomeric status could result from the presence of fusion intermediates in the crystal.
Project description:Rabies is a neglected zoonotic disease caused by viruses belonging to the genus lyssavirus. In endemic countries of Asia and Africa, where the majority of the estimated 60,000 human rabies deaths occur, it is mainly caused by the classical rabies virus (RABV) transmitted by dogs. Over the last decade new species within the genus lyssavirus have been identified. Meanwhile 15 (proposed or classified) species exist, including Australian bat lyssavirus (ABLV), European bat lyssavirus (EBLV-1 and -2), Duvenhage virus (DUVV), as well as Lagos bat virus (LBV) and Mokola virus (MOKV) and recently identified novel species like Bokeloh bat lyssavirus (BBLV), Ikoma bat lyssavirus (IKOV) or Lleida bat lyssavirus (LLBV). The majority of these lyssavirus species are found in bat reservoirs and some have caused human infection and deaths. Previous work has demonstrated that Purified Chick Embryo Cell Rabies Vaccine (PCECV) not only induces immune responses against classical RABV, but also elicits cross-neutralizing antibodies against ABLV, EBLV-1 and EBLV-2.Using the same serum samples as in our previous study, this study extension investigated cross-neutralizing activities of serum antibodies measured by rapid fluorescent focus inhibition test (RFFIT) against selected other non-classical lyssavirus species of interest, namely DUVV and BBLV, as well as MOKV and LBV.Antibodies developed after vaccination with PCECV have neutralizing capability against BBLV and DUVV in the same range as against ABLV and EBLV-1 and -2. As expected, for the phylogenetically more distant species LBV no cross-neutralizing activity was found. Interestingly, 15 of 94 serum samples (16%) with a positive neutralizing antibody titer against RABV displayed specific cross-neutralizing activity (65-fold lower than against RABV) against one specific MOKV strain (Ethiopia isolate), which was not seen against a different strain (Nigeria isolate).Cross-neutralizing activities partly correlate with the phylogenetic distance of the virus species. Cross-neutralizing activities against the species BBLV and DUVV of phylogroup 1 were demonstrated, in line with previous results of cross-neutralizing activities against ABLV and EBLV-1 and -2. Potential partial cross-neutralizing activities against more distant lyssavirus species like selected MOKV strains need further research.
Project description:Rabies is nearly 100% lethal in the absence of treatment, killing an estimated 59,000 people annually. Vaccines and biologics are highly efficacious when administered properly. Sixteen rabies-related viruses (lyssaviruses) are similarly lethal, but some are divergent enough to evade protection from current vaccines and biologics, which are based only on the classical rabies virus (RABV). Here we present the development and characterization of LyssaVax, a vaccine featuring a structurally designed, functional chimeric glycoprotein (G) containing immunologically important domains from both RABV G and the highly divergent Mokola virus (MOKV) G. LyssaVax elicits high titers of antibodies specific to both RABV and MOKV Gs in mice. Immune sera also neutralize a range of wild-type lyssaviruses across the major phylogroups. LyssaVax-immunized mice are protected against challenge with recombinant RABV and MOKV. Altogether, LyssaVax demonstrates the utility of structural modeling in vaccine design and constitutes a broadened lyssavirus vaccine candidate.
Project description:Mokola virus (MOKV) is a nonsegmented, negative-sense RNA virus that belongs to the Lyssavirus genus and Rhabdoviridae family. MOKV phosphoprotein P is an essential component of the replication and transcription complex and acts as a cofactor for the viral RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. P recruits the viral polymerase to the nucleoprotein-bound viral RNA (N-RNA) via an interaction between its C-terminal domain and the N-RNA complex. Here we present a structure for this domain of MOKV P, obtained by expression of full-length P in Escherichia coli, which was subsequently truncated during crystallization. The structure has a high degree of homology with P of rabies virus, another member of Lyssavirus genus, and to a lesser degree with P of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV), a member of the related Vesiculovirus genus. In addition, analysis of the crystal packing of this domain reveals a potential binding site for the nucleoprotein N. Using both site-directed mutagenesis and yeast two-hybrid experiments to measure P-N interaction, we have determined the relative roles of key amino acids involved in this interaction to map the region of P that binds N. This analysis also reveals a structural relationship between the N-RNA binding domain of the P proteins of the Rhabdoviridae and the Paramyxoviridae.
Project description:Chandipura virus (CHAV), a member of the vesiculovirus genus, is an emerging human pathogen. As for other rhabdoviruses, CHAV entry into susceptible cells is mediated by its single envelope glycoprotein G which is both involved in receptor recognition and fusion of viral and cellular membranes. Here, we have characterized the fusion properties of CHAV-G. As for vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV, the prototype of the genus) G, fusion is triggered at low pH below 6.5. We have also analyzed the biochemical properties of a soluble form of CHAV-G ectodomain (CHAV-Gth, generated by thermolysin limited-proteolysis of recombinant VSV particles in which the G gene was replaced by that of CHAV). The overall behavior of CHAV-Gth is similar to that previously reported for VSV-Gth. Particularly, CHAV-Gth pre-fusion trimer is not stable in solution and low-pH-induced membrane association of CHAV-Gth is reversible. Furthermore, CHAV-Gth was crystallized in its low pH post-fusion conformation and its structure was determined at 3.6Å resolution. An overall comparison of this structure with the previously reported VSV-Gth post-fusion conformation, shows a high structural similarity as expected from the comparison of primary structure. Among the three domains of G, the pleckstrin homology domain (PHD) appears to be the most divergent and the largest differences are confined to the secondary structure of the major antigenic site of rhabdoviruses. Finally, local differences indicate that CHAV has evolved alternate structural solutions in hinge regions between PH and fusion domains but also distinct pH sensitive switches. Globally the comparison between the post fusion conformation of CHAV and VSV-G highlights several features essential for the protein's function. It also reveals the remarkable plasticity of G in terms of local structures.
Project description:A generic two-step lyssavirus real-time reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR), based on a nested PCR strategy, was validated for the detection of different lyssavirus species. Primers with 17 to 30% of degenerate bases were used in both consecutive steps. The assay could accurately detect RABV, LBV, MOKV, DUVV, EBLV-1, EBLV-2, and ABLV. In silico sequence alignment showed a functional match with the remaining lyssavirus species. The diagnostic specificity was 100% and the sensitivity proved to be superior to that of the fluorescent antigen test. The limit of detection was ? 1 50% tissue culture infectious dose. The related vesicular stomatitis virus was not recognized, confirming the selectivity for lyssaviruses. The assay was applied to follow the evolution of rabies virus infection in the brain of mice from 0 to 10 days after intranasal inoculation. The obtained RNA curve corresponded well with the curves obtained by a one-step monospecific RABV-qRT-PCR, the fluorescent antigen test, and virus titration. Despite the presence of degenerate bases, the assay proved to be highly sensitive, specific, and reproducible.
Project description:Entry of enveloped viruses requires fusion of viral and cellular membranes, driven by conformational changes of viral glycoproteins. Crystal structures provide static pictures of pre- and post-fusion conformations of these proteins but the transition pathway remains elusive. Here, using several biophysical techniques, including analytical ultracentrifugation, circular dichroïsm, electron microscopy and small angle X-ray scattering, we have characterized the low-pH-induced fusogenic structural transition of a soluble form of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) glycoprotein G ectodomain (G(th), aa residues 1-422, the fragment that was previously crystallized). While the post-fusion trimer is the major species detected at low pH, the pre-fusion trimer is not detected in solution. Rather, at high pH, G(th) is a flexible monomer that explores a large conformational space. The monomeric population exhibits a marked pH-dependence and adopts more elongated conformations when pH decreases. Furthermore, large relative movements of domains are detected in absence of significant secondary structure modification. Solution studies are complemented by electron micrographs of negatively stained viral particles in which monomeric ectodomains of G are observed at the viral surface at both pH 7.5 and pH 6.7. We propose that the monomers are intermediates during the conformational change and thus that VSV G trimers dissociate at the viral surface during the structural transition.
Project description:Lagos bat virus (LBV) is a phylogroup II lyssavirus exclusively found in Africa. Previous studies indicated that this virus is lethal to mice after intracranial and intramuscular inoculation. The antigenic composition of LBV differs substantially from that of rabies virus (RABV) and current rabies vaccines do not provide cross protection against phylogroup II lyssaviruses. To investigate the potential role of the LBV matrix protein (M) and glycoprotein (G) in pathogenesis, reverse genetics technology was used to construct recombinant viruses. The genes encoding the glycoprotein, or the matrix and glycoprotein of the attenuated RABV strain SPBN, were replaced with those of LBV resulting in SPBN-LBVG and SPBN-LBVM-LBVG, respectively. To evaluate the immunogenicity of the LBV G, the recombinant RABV SPBNGAS-LBVG-GAS was constructed with the LBV G inserted between two mutated RABV G genes (termed GAS). All the recombinant viruses were lethal to mice after intracranial (i.c.) inoculation although the pathogenicity of SPBNGAS-LBVG-GAS was lower compared to the other recombinant viruses. Following intramuscular (i.m.) inoculation, only SPBN-LBVM-LBVG was lethal to mice, indicating that both the M and G of LBV play a role in the pathogenesis. Most interestingly, serum collected from mice that were inoculated i.m. with SPBNGAS-LBVG-GAS neutralized phylogroup I and II lyssaviruses including RABV, Duvenhage virus (DUVV), LBV, and Mokola virus (MOKV), indicating that this recombinant virus has potential to be developed as a pan-lyssavirus vaccine.
Project description:Vesiculoviruses enter cells by membrane fusion, driven by a large, low-pH-induced, conformational change in the fusion glycoprotein G that involves transition from a trimeric pre-fusion toward a trimeric post-fusion state via monomeric intermediates. Here, we present the structure of the G fusion protein at intermediate pH for two vesiculoviruses, vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) and Chandipura virus (CHAV), which is responsible for deadly encephalopathies. First, a CHAV G crystal structure shows two intermediate conformations forming a flat dimer of heterodimers. On virions, electron microscopy (EM) and tomography reveal monomeric spikes similar to one of the crystal conformations. In solution, mass spectrometry shows dimers of G. Finally, mutations at a dimer interface, involving fusion domains associated in an antiparallel manner to form an intermolecular β-sheet, affect G fusion properties. The location of the compensatory mutations restoring fusion activity strongly suggests that this interface is functionally relevant. This work reveals the range of G structural changes and suggests that G monomers can re-associate, through antiparallel interactions between fusion domains, into dimers that play a role at some early stage of the fusion process.
Project description:Mokola virus (MOKV) is a rabies-related lyssavirus and appears to be exclusive to the African continent. Only 24 cases of MOKV, which includes two human cases, have been reported since its identification in 1968. MOKV has an unknown reservoir host and current commercial vaccines do not confer protection against MOKV.We describe three new isolations of MOKV from domestic cats in South Africa. Two cases were retrospectively identified from 2012 and an additional one in 2014.These cases emphasize the generally poor surveillance for rabies-related lyssaviruses and our inadequate comprehension of the epidemiology and ecology of Mokola lyssavirus per se.