The MERS-CoV N Protein Regulates Host Cytokinesis and Protein Translation via Interaction With EF1A.
ABSTRACT: Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), a pathogen causing severe respiratory disease in humans that emerged in June 2012, is a novel beta coronavirus similar to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV). In this study, immunoprecipitation and proximity ligation assays revealed that the nucleocapsid (N) protein of MERS-CoV interacted with human translation elongation factor 1A (EF1A), an essential component of the translation system with important roles in protein translation, cytokinesis, and filamentous actin (F-actin) bundling. The C-terminal motif (residues 359-363) of the N protein was the crucial domain involved in this interaction. The interaction between the MERS-CoV N protein and EF1A resulted in cytokinesis inhibition due to the formation of inactive F-actin bundles, as observed in an in vitro actin polymerization assay and in MERS-CoV-infected cells. Furthermore, the translation of a CoV-like reporter mRNA carrying the MERS-CoV 5'UTR was significantly potentiated by the N protein, indicating that a similar process may contribute to EF1A-associated viral protein translation. This study highlights the crucial role of EF1A in MERS-CoV infection and provides new insights into the pathogenesis of coronavirus infections.
Project description:Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) is the etiological agent of SARS, an emerging disease characterized by atypical pneumonia. Using a yeast two-hybrid screen with the nucleocapsid (N) protein of SARS-CoV as a bait, the C terminus (amino acids 251 to 422) of the N protein was found to interact with human elongation factor 1-alpha (EF1alpha), an essential component of the translational machinery with an important role in cytokinesis, promoting the bundling of filamentous actin (F-actin). In vitro and in vivo interaction was then confirmed by immuno-coprecipitation, far-Western blotting, and surface plasmon resonance. It was demonstrated that the N protein of SARS-CoV induces aggregation of EF1alpha, inhibiting protein translation and cytokinesis by blocking F-actin bundling. Proliferation of human peripheral blood lymphocytes and other human cell lines was significantly inhibited by the infection of recombinant retrovirus expressing SARS-CoV N protein.
Project description:Stress granule (SG) formation is generally triggered as a result of stress-induced translation arrest. The impact of SG formation on virus replication varies among different viruses, and the significance of SGs in coronavirus (CoV) replication is largely unknown. The present study examined the biological role of SGs in Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)-CoV replication. The MERS-CoV 4a accessory protein is known to inhibit SG formation in cells in which it was expressed by binding to double-stranded RNAs and inhibiting protein kinase R (PKR)-mediated phosphorylation of the ? subunit of eukaryotic initiation factor 2 (eIF2?). Replication of MERS-CoV lacking the genes for 4a and 4b (MERS-CoV-?p4), but not MERS-CoV, induced SG accumulation in MERS-CoV-susceptible HeLa/CD26 cells, while replication of both viruses failed to induce SGs in Vero cells, demonstrating cell type-specific differences in MERS-CoV-?p4-induced SG formation. MERS-CoV-?p4 replicated less efficiently than MERS-CoV in HeLa/CD26 cells, and inhibition of SG formation by small interfering RNA-mediated depletion of the SG components promoted MERS-CoV-?p4 replication, demonstrating that SG formation was detrimental for MERS-CoV replication. Inefficient MERS-CoV-?p4 replication was not due to either the induction of type I and type III interferons or the accumulation of viral mRNAs in the SGs. Rather, it was due to the inefficient translation of viral proteins, which was caused by high levels of PKR-mediated eIF2? phosphorylation and likely by the confinement of various factors that are required for translation in the SGs. Finally, we established that deletion of the 4a gene alone was sufficient for inducing SGs in infected cells. Our study revealed that 4a-mediated inhibition of SG formation facilitates viral translation, leading to efficient MERS-CoV replication.IMPORTANCE Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) causes respiratory failure with a high case fatality rate in patients, yet effective antivirals and vaccines are currently not available. Stress granule (SG) formation is one of the cellular stress responses to virus infection and is generally triggered as a result of stress-induced translation arrest. SGs can be beneficial or detrimental for virus replication, and the biological role of SGs in CoV infection is unclear. The present study showed that the MERS-CoV 4a accessory protein, which was reported to block SG formation in cells in which it was expressed, inhibited SG formation in infected cells. Our data suggest that 4a-mediated inhibition of SG formation facilitates the translation of viral mRNAs, resulting in efficient virus replication. To our knowledge, this report is the first to show the biological significance of SG in CoV replication and provides insight into the interplay between MERS-CoV and antiviral stress responses.
Project description:Background: The recent emergence of a novel coronavirus in the Middle East (designated MERS-CoV) is a reminder of the zoonotic potential of coronaviruses and the severe disease these etiologic agents can cause in humans. Clinical features of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) include severe acute pneumonia and renal failure that is highly reminiscent of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) caused by SARS-CoV. The host response is a key component of highly pathogenic respiratory virus infection. Here, we computationally analyzed gene expression changes in a human airway epithelial cell line infected with two genetically distinct MERS-CoV strains obtained from human patients, MERS-CoV-EMC (designated EMC) and MERS-CoV-London (designated LoCoV). Results: Using topological techniques, such as persistence homology and filtered clustering, we characterized the host response system to the different MERS-CoVs, with LoCoV inducing early kinetic changes, between 3 and 12 hours post infection, compared to EMC. Robust transcriptional changes distinguished the two MERS-CoV strains predominantly at the late time points. Combining statistical analysis of infection and cytokine-stimulated treatment transcriptomics, we identified differential innate and pro-inflammatory responses between the two virus strains, including up-regulation of extracellular remodeling genes following LoCoV infection and differential pro-inflammatory responses between the two strains. Conclusions: These transcriptional differences may be the result of amino acid differences in viral proteins known to modulate innate immunity against MERS infection. Triplicate wells of Calu-3 2B4 cells were infected with Human Coronavirus EMC 2012 (HCoV-EMC) or time-matched mock infected. Cells were harvested at 0, 3, 7, 12, 18 and 24 hours post-infection (hpi), RNA extracted and transcriptomics analyzed by microarray.
Project description:Transmissible gastroenteritis coronavirus (TGEV) is an enteropathogenic coronavirus that causes diarrhea in pigs, which is correlated with high morbidity and mortality in suckling piglets. Using the method of GST pull-down with the nucleocapsid (N), N protein was found to interact with swine testes (ST) cells elongation factor 1-alpha (EF1A), an essential component of the translational machinery with an important role in cells. In vitro and in virus-infected cells interaction was then confirmed by co-precipitation. Knockdown of EF1A impairs N protein proliferation and TGEV replication in host cell. It was demonstrated that EF1A plays a role in TGEV replication. The present study thus provides a protein-related information that should be useful for underlying mechanism of coronavirus replication.
Project description:Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a beta coronavirus that emerged in 2012, causing severe pneumonia and renal failure. MERS-CoV encodes five accessory proteins. Some of them have been shown to interfere with host antiviral immune response. However, the roles of protein 8b in innate immunity and viral virulence was rarely studied. Here, we introduced individual MERS-CoV accessory protein genes into the genome of an attenuated murine coronavirus (Mouse hepatitis virus, MHV), respectively and found accessory protein 8b could enhance viral replication in vivo and in vitro, and increase the lethality of infected mice. RNA-seq analysis revealed that protein 8b could significantly inhibit type I interferon production (IFN-I) and innate immune response in mice infected with MHV expressing protein 8b. We also found that MERS-CoV protein 8b could initiate from multiple internal methionine sites and at least three protein variants were identified. Residues 1-23 of protein 8b was demonstrated to be responsible for increased virulence in vivo. In addition, the inhibitory effect on IFN-I of protein 8b might not contribute to its virulence enhancement as aa1-23 deletion did not affect IFN-I production in vitro and in vivo. Next, we also found that protein 8b was localized to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER)/Golgi membrane in infected cells, which was disrupted by C-terminal region aa 88-112 deletion. This study will provide new insight into the pathogenesis of MERS-CoV infection. Overall design: Transcriptome of brain obtained from mice infected with rJ2.2.8b and rJ2.2.8b-KO virus
Project description:Human circular RNAs can function in competing endogenous RNA (ceRNA) network by sponging miRNA and regulating gene expression. Viruses are evolved to regulate noncoding RNAs such as miRNAs and circRNAs to facilitate their propagation and pathogenesis. Studies on how host ceRNAs upon human coronavirus infection were scarce, and the functions of circRNAs during the infection of Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has not been deeply revealed. Therefore, we conducted a whole transcriptional profile (RNA-seq) analysis to compare the expression of circRNAs, miRNAs and mRNAs between the mock-infected and MERS-CoV-infected human lung adenocarcinoma (Calu-3) cells. Integrated analysis of ceRNAs revealed putative viral pathogenic circRNAs induced by MERS-CoV and their interplay with miRNAs and genes. Our study offered new insights into the mechanisms of interplays of MERS-CoVs and hosts, and established a model promising to be applied to other coronavirus or other viruses for the identification of novel host factors. Overall design: The expression of cirRNA, miRNA and mRNA were examined in triplicate samples of Middle east respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) infected (6hpi and 24hpi) and mock infected human lung adenocarcinoma (Calu-3) cells. A mRNA library, a small RNA library and an Ribodepleted, RNase R treated circRNA library were constructed, followed by deep sequencing on Illumina Hiseq X-Ten platform.
Project description:Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) causes severe respiratory infections that can be life-threatening. To establish an infection and spread, MERS-CoV, like most other viruses, must navigate through an intricate network of antiviral host responses. Besides the well-known type I interferon (IFN-?/?) response, the protein kinase R (PKR)-mediated stress response is being recognized as an important innate response pathway. Upon detecting viral dsRNA, PKR phosphorylates eIF2?, leading to the inhibition of cellular and viral translation and the formation of stress granules (SGs), which are increasingly recognized as platforms for antiviral signaling pathways. It is unknown whether cellular infection by MERS-CoV activates the stress response pathway or whether the virus has evolved strategies to suppress this infection-limiting pathway. Here, we show that cellular infection with MERS-CoV does not lead to the formation of SGs. By transiently expressing the MERS-CoV accessory proteins individually, we identified a role of protein 4a (p4a) in preventing activation of the stress response pathway. Expression of MERS-CoV p4a impeded dsRNA-mediated PKR activation, thereby rescuing translation inhibition and preventing SG formation. In contrast, p4a failed to suppress stress response pathway activation that is independent of PKR and dsRNA. MERS-CoV p4a is a dsRNA binding protein. Mutation of the dsRNA binding motif in p4a disrupted its PKR antagonistic activity. By inserting p4a in a picornavirus lacking its natural PKR antagonist, we showed that p4a exerts PKR antagonistic activity also under infection conditions. However, a recombinant MERS-CoV deficient in p4a expression still suppressed SG formation, indicating the expression of at least one other stress response antagonist. This virus also suppressed the dsRNA-independent stress response pathway. Thus, MERS-CoV interferes with antiviral stress responses using at least two different mechanisms, with p4a suppressing the PKR-dependent stress response pathway, probably by sequestering dsRNA. MERS-CoV p4a represents the first coronavirus stress response antagonist described.
Project description:Members of the family Coronaviridae have the largest genomes of all RNA viruses, typically in the region of 30 kilobases. Several coronaviruses, such as Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (MERS-CoV), are of medical importance, with high mortality rates and, in the case of SARS-CoV, significant pandemic potential. Other coronaviruses, such as Porcine epidemic diarrhea virus and Avian coronavirus, are important livestock pathogens. Ribosome profiling is a technique which exploits the capacity of the translating ribosome to protect around 30 nucleotides of mRNA from ribonuclease digestion. Ribosome-protected mRNA fragments are purified, subjected to deep sequencing and mapped back to the transcriptome to give a global "snap-shot" of translation. Parallel RNA sequencing allows normalization by transcript abundance. Here we apply ribosome profiling to cells infected with Murine coronavirus, mouse hepatitis virus, strain A59 (MHV-A59), a model coronavirus in the same genus as SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. The data obtained allowed us to study the kinetics of virus transcription and translation with exquisite precision. We studied the timecourse of positive and negative-sense genomic and subgenomic viral RNA production and the relative translation efficiencies of the different virus ORFs. Virus mRNAs were not found to be translated more efficiently than host mRNAs; rather, virus translation dominates host translation at later time points due to high levels of virus transcripts. Triplet phasing of the profiling data allowed precise determination of translated reading frames and revealed several translated short open reading frames upstream of, or embedded within, known virus protein-coding regions. Ribosome pause sites were identified in the virus replicase polyprotein pp1a ORF and investigated experimentally. Contrary to expectations, ribosomes were not found to pause at the ribosomal frameshift site. To our knowledge this is the first application of ribosome profiling to an RNA virus.
Project description:Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a highly pathogenic human coronavirus (CoV). Belonging to the same beta-CoV genus as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-1 (SARS-CoV-1) and SARS-CoV-2, MERS-CoV has a significantly higher fatality rate with limited human-to-human transmissibility. MERS-CoV causes sporadic outbreaks, but no vaccines have yet been approved for use in humans, thus calling for continued efforts to develop effective vaccines against this important CoV. Similar to SARS-CoV-1 and SARS-CoV-2, MERS-CoV contains four structural proteins, among which the surface spike (S) protein has been used as a core component in the majority of currently developed MERS-CoV vaccines. Here, we illustrate the importance of the MERS-CoV S protein as a key vaccine target and provide an update on the currently developed MERS-CoV vaccines, including those based on DNAs, proteins, virus-like particles or nanoparticles, and viral vectors. Additionally, we describe approaches for designing MERS-CoV mRNA vaccines and explore the role and importance of naturally occurring pseudo-nucleosides in the design of effective MERS-CoV mRNA vaccines. This review also provides useful insights into designing and evaluating mRNA vaccines against other viral pathogens.
Project description:The newly emerged Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) has infected at least 77 people, with a fatality rate of more than 50%. Alarmingly, the virus demonstrates the capability of human-to-human transmission, raising the possibility of global spread and endangering world health and economy. Here we have identified the receptor-binding domain (RBD) from the MERS-CoV spike protein and determined its crystal structure. This study also presents a structural comparison of MERS-CoV RBD with other coronavirus RBDs, successfully positioning MERS-CoV on the landscape of coronavirus evolution and providing insights into receptor binding by MERS-CoV. Furthermore, we found that MERS-CoV RBD functions as an effective entry inhibitor of MERS-CoV. The identified MERS-CoV RBD may also serve as a potential candidate for MERS-CoV subunit vaccines. Overall, this study enhances our understanding of the evolution of coronavirus RBDs, provides insights into receptor recognition by MERS-CoV, and may help control the transmission of MERS-CoV in humans.