ABSTRACT: Picornaviruses replicate their RNA genomes through a highly conserved mechanism that involves an interaction between the principal viral protease (3C(pro)) and the 5'-UTR region of the viral genome. The 3C(pro) catalytic site is the target of numerous replication inhibitors. This paper describes the first structural model of a complex between a picornaviral 3C(pro) and a region of the 5'-UTR, stem-loop D (SLD). Using human rhinovirus as a model system, we have combined NMR contact information, small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) data, and previous mutagenesis results to determine the shape, position and relative orientation of the 3C(pro) and SLD components. The results clearly identify a 1:1 binding stoichiometry, with pronounced loops from each molecule providing the key binding determinants for the interaction. Binding between SLD and 3C(pro) induces structural changes in the proteolytic active site that is positioned on the opposite side of the protease relative to the RNA/protein interface, suggesting that subtle conformational changes affecting catalytic activity are relayed through the protein.
Project description:The 3C protein is a master regulator of the picornaviral infection cycle, responsible for both cleaving viral and host proteins, and interacting with genomic RNA replication elements. Here we use nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and molecular dynamics simulations to show that 3C is conformationally dynamic across multiple timescales. Binding of peptide and RNA lead to structural dynamics changes at both the protease active site and the RNA-binding site, consistent with these sites being dynamically coupled. Indeed, binding of RNA influences protease activity, and likewise, interactions at the active site affect RNA binding. We propose that RNA and peptide binding re-shapes the conformational energy landscape of 3C to regulate subsequent functions, including formation of complexes with other viral proteins. The observed channeling of the 3C energy landscape may be important for regulation of the viral infection cycle.
Project description:The 3C protease (3C(pro)) from foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV), the causative agent of a widespread and economically devastating disease of domestic livestock, is a potential target for antiviral drug design. We have determined the structure of a new crystal form of FMDV 3C(pro), a chymotrypsin-like cysteine protease, which reveals features that are important for catalytic activity. In particular, we show that a surface loop which was disordered in previous structures adopts a beta-ribbon structure that is conformationally similar to equivalent regions on other picornaviral 3C proteases and some serine proteases. This beta-ribbon folds over the peptide binding cleft and clearly contributes to substrate recognition. Replacement of Cys142 at the tip of the beta-ribbon with different amino acids has a significant impact on enzyme activity and shows that higher activity is obtained with more hydrophobic side chains. Comparison of the structure of FMDV 3C(pro) with homologous enzyme-peptide complexes suggests that this correlation arises because the side chain of Cys142 contacts the hydrophobic portions of the P2 and P4 residues in the peptide substrate. Collectively, these findings provide compelling evidence for the role of the beta-ribbon in catalytic activity and provide valuable insights for the design of FMDV 3C(pro) inhibitors.
Project description:Proteolytical cleavage of the picornaviral polyprotein is essential for viral replication. Therefore, viral proteases are attractive targets for anti-viral therapy. Most assays available for testing proteolytical activity of proteases are performed in vitro, using heterologously expressed proteases and peptide substrates. To deal with the disadvantages associated with in vitro assays, we modified a cell-based protease assay for picornavirus proteases. The assay is based on the induction of expression of a firefly luciferase reporter by a chimeric transcription factor in which the viral protease and cleavage sites are inserted between the GAL4 binding domain and the VP16 activation domain. Firefly luciferase expression is dependent on cleavage of the transcription factor by the viral protease. This biosafe assay enables testing the effect of compounds on protease activity in cells while circumventing the need for infection. We designed the assay for 3C proteases (3C(pro)) of various enteroviruses as well as of viruses of several other picornavirus genera, and show that the assay is amenable for use in a high-throughput setting. Furthermore, we show that the spectrum of activity of 3C(pro) inhibitor AG7088 (rupintrivir) not only encompasses enterovirus 3C(pro) but also 3C(pro) of foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV), an aphthovirus. In contrary, AG7404 (compound 1), an analogue of AG7088, had no effect on FMDV 3C(pro) activity, for which we provide a structural explanation.
Project description:Human enterovirus 71 (EV71) is the major pathogen that causes hand, foot and mouth disease that particularly affects young children. Growing hand, foot and mouth disease outbreaks were observed worldwide in recent years and caused devastating losses both economically and politically. However, vaccines or effective drugs are unavailable to date. The genome of EV71 consists of a positive sense, single-stranded RNA of ?7400 bp, encoding a large precursor polyprotein that requires proteolytic processing to generate mature viral proteins. The proteolytic processing mainly depends on EV71 3C protease (3C(pro)) that possesses both proteolysis and RNA binding activities, which enable the protease to perform multiple tasks in viral replication and pathogen-host interactions. The central roles played by EV71 3C(pro) make it an appealing target for antiviral drug development. We determined the first crystal structure of EV71 3C(pro) and analyzed its enzymatic activity. The crystal structure shows that EV71 3C(pro) has a typical chymotrypsin-like fold that is common in picornaviral 3C(pro). Strikingly, we found an important surface loop, also denoted as ?-ribbon, which adopts a novel open conformation in EV71 3C(pro). We identified two important residues located at the base of the ?-ribbon, Gly123 and His133, which form hinges that govern the intrinsic flexibility of the ribbon. Structure-guided mutagenesis studies revealed that the hinge residues are important to EV71 3C(pro) proteolytic activities. In summary, our work provides the first structural insight into EV71 3C(pro), including a mobile ?-ribbon, which is relevant to the proteolytic mechanism. Our data also provides a framework for structure-guided inhibitor design against EV71 3C(pro).
Project description:Mitochondrial antiviral signaling protein (MAVS) is an essential component of virus-activated signaling pathways that induce protective IFN responses. Its localization to the outer mitochondrial membrane suggests an important yet unexplained role for mitochondria in innate immunity. Here, we show that hepatitis A virus (HAV), a hepatotropic picornavirus, ablates type 1 IFN responses by targeting the 3ABC precursor of its 3C(pro) cysteine protease to mitochondria where it colocalizes with and cleaves MAVS, thereby disrupting activation of IRF3 through the MDA5 pathway. The 3ABC cleavage of MAVS requires both the protease activity of 3C(pro) and a transmembrane domain in 3A that directs 3ABC to mitochondria. Lacking this domain, mature 3C(pro) protease is incapable of MAVS proteolysis. HAV thus disrupts host signaling by a mechanism that parallels that of the serine NS3/4A protease of hepatitis C virus, but differs in its use of a stable, catalytically active polyprotein processing intermediate. The unique requirement for mitochondrial localization of 3ABC underscores the importance of mitochondria to host control of virus infections within the liver.
Project description:Human coxsackievirus (CV) belongs to the picornavirus family, which consists of over 200 medically relevant viruses. In picornavirus, a chymotrypsin-like protease (3C(pro)) is required for viral replication by processing the polyproteins, and thus it is regarded as an antiviral drug target. A 3C-like protease (3CL(pro)) also exists in human coronaviruses (CoV) such as 229E and the one causing severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). To combat SARS, we previously had developed peptidomimetic and zinc-coordinating inhibitors of 3CL(pro). As shown in the present study, some of these compounds were also found to be active against 3C(pro) of CV strain B3 (CVB3). Several crystal structures of 3C(pro) from CVB3 and 3CL(pro) from CoV-229E and SARS-CoV in complex with the inhibitors were solved. The zinc-coordinating inhibitor is tetrahedrally coordinated to the His(40)-Cys(147) catalytic dyad of CVB3 3C(pro). The presence of specific binding pockets for the residues of peptidomimetic inhibitors explains the binding specificity. Our results provide a structural basis for inhibitor optimization and development of potential drugs for antiviral therapies.
Project description:Messenger RNA is recruited to the eukaryotic ribosome by a complex including the eukaryotic initiation factor (eIF) 4E (the cap-binding protein), the scaffold protein eIF4G and the RNA helicase eIF4A. To shut-off host-cell protein synthesis, eIF4G is cleaved during picornaviral infection by a virally encoded proteinase; the structural basis of this reaction and its stimulation by eIF4E is unclear. We have structurally and biochemically investigated the interaction of purified foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) leader proteinase (Lb(pro)), human rhinovirus 2 (HRV2) 2A proteinase (2A(pro)) and coxsackievirus B4 (CVB4) 2A(pro) with purified eIF4GII, eIF4E and the eIF4GII/eIF4E complex. Using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), we completed (13)C/(15) N sequential backbone assignment of human eIF4GII residues 551-745 and examined their binding to murine eIF4E. eIF4GII551-745 is intrinsically unstructured and remains so when bound to eIF4E. NMR and biophysical techniques for determining stoichiometry and binding constants revealed that the papain-like Lb(pro) only forms a stable complex with eIF4GII(551-745) in the presence of eIF4E, with KD values in the low nanomolar range; Lb(pro) contacts both eIF4GII and eIF4E. Furthermore, the unrelated chymotrypsin-like 2A(pro) from HRV2 and CVB4 also build a stable complex with eIF4GII/eIF4E, but with K(D) values in the low micromolar range. The HRV2 enzyme also forms a stable complex with eIF4E; however, none of the proteinases tested complex stably with eIF4GII alone. Thus, these three picornaviral proteinases have independently evolved to establish distinct triangular heterotrimeric protein complexes that may actively target ribosomes involved in mRNA recruitment to ensure efficient host cell shut-off.
Project description:3C proteases, the main proteases of picornaviruses, play the key role in viral life cycle by processing polyproteins. In addition, 3C proteases digest certain host cell proteins to suppress antiviral defense, transcription, and translation. The activity of 3C proteases per se induces host cell death, which makes them critical factors of viral cytotoxicity. To date, cytotoxic effects have been studied for several 3C proteases, all of which induce apoptosis. This study for the first time describes the cytotoxic effect of 3C protease of human hepatitis A virus (3Cpro), the only proteolytic enzyme of the virus.Individual expression of 3Cpro induced catalytic activity-dependent cell death, which was not abrogated by the pan-caspase inhibitor (z-VAD-fmk) and was not accompanied by phosphatidylserine externalization in contrast to other picornaviral 3C proteases. The cell survival was also not affected by the inhibitors of cysteine proteases (z-FA-fmk) and RIP1 kinase (necrostatin-1), critical enzymes involved in non-apoptotic cell death. A substantial fraction of dying cells demonstrated numerous non-acidic cytoplasmic vacuoles with not previously described features and originating from several types of endosomal/lysosomal organelles. The lysosomal protein Lamp1 and GTPases Rab5, Rab7, Rab9, and Rab11 were associated with the vacuolar membranes. The vacuolization was completely blocked by the vacuolar ATPase inhibitor (bafilomycin A1) and did not depend on the activity of the principal factors of endosomal transport, GTPases Rab5 and Rab7, as well as on autophagy and macropinocytosis.3Cpro, apart from other picornaviral 3C proteases, induces caspase-independent cell death, accompanying by cytoplasmic vacuolization. 3Cpro-induced vacuoles have unique properties and are formed from several organelle types of the endosomal/lysosomal compartment. The data obtained demonstrate previously undocumented morphological characters of the 3Cpro-induced cell death, which can reflect unknown aspects of the human hepatitis A virus-host cell interaction.
Project description:A series of pyrazolone compounds as possible SARS-CoV 3CL protease inhibitors were designed, synthesized, and evaluated by in vitro protease assay using fluorogenic substrate peptide in which several showed potent inhibition against the 3CL protease. Interestingly, one of the inhibitors was also active against 3C protease from coxsackievirus B3. These inhibitors could be potentially developed into anti-coronaviral and anti-picornaviral agents.
Project description:Proteolytic cleavage of translation initiation factors is a means to interfere with mRNA circularization and to induce translation arrest during picornaviral replication or apoptosis. It was shown that the regulated cleavages of eukaryotic initiation factor (eIF) 4G and poly(A)-binding protein (PABP) by viral proteinases correlated with early and late arrest of host cap-dependent and viral internal ribosome entry site (IRES)-dependent translation, respectively. Here we show that in contrast to coxsackievirus, eIF4G is not a substrate of proteinase 3C of hepatitis A virus (HAV 3C(pro)). However, PABP is cleaved by HAV 3C(pro) in vitro and in vivo, separating the N-terminal RNA-binding domain (NTD) of PABP from the C-terminal protein-interaction domain. In vitro, NTD has a dominant negative effect on HAV IRES-dependent translation and an enhanced binding affinity to the RNA structural element pY1 in the 5' nontranslated region of the HAV RNA that is essential for viral genome replication. The results point to a regulatory role of PABP cleavage in RNA template switching of viral translation to RNA synthesis.