Partially Uncleaved Alphavirus Replicase Forms Spherule Structures in the Presence and Absence of RNA Template

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Hellström , K , Kallio , K , Utt , A , Quirin , T , Jokitalo , E , Merits , A & Ahola , T 2017 , ' Partially Uncleaved Alphavirus Replicase Forms Spherule Structures in the Presence and Absence of RNA Template ' , Journal of Virology , vol. 91 , no. 18 , e00787-17 . https://doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00787-17

Title: Partially Uncleaved Alphavirus Replicase Forms Spherule Structures in the Presence and Absence of RNA Template
Author: Hellström, Kirsi; Kallio, Katri; Utt, Age; Quirin, Tania; Jokitalo, Eija; Merits, Andres; Ahola, Tero
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Department of Food and Nutrition
University of Helsinki, Department of Food and Nutrition
University of Helsinki, University of Helsinki
University of Helsinki, University of Helsinki
University of Helsinki, University of Helsinki
Date: 2017-09
Language: eng
Number of pages: 13
Belongs to series: Journal of Virology
ISSN: 0022-538X
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/224258
Abstract: Alphaviruses are positive-strand RNA viruses expressing their replicase as a polyprotein, P1234, which is cleaved to four final products, nonstructural proteins nsP1 to nsP4. The replicase proteins together with viral RNA and host factors form membrane invaginations termed spherules, which act as the replication complexes producing progeny RNAs. We have previously shown that the wild-type alphavirus replicase requires a functional RNA template and active polymerase to generate spherule structures. However, we now find that specific partially processed forms of the replicase proteins alone can give rise to membrane invaginations in the absence of RNA or replication. The minimal requirement for spherule formation was the expression of properly cleaved nsP4, together with either uncleaved P123 or with the combination of nsP1 and uncleaved P23. These inactive spherules were morphologically less regular than replication-induced spherules. In the presence of template, nsP1 plus uncleaved P23 plus nsP4 could efficiently assemble active replication spherules producing both negative-sense and positive-sense RNA strands. P23 alone did not have membrane affinity, but could be recruited to membrane sites in the presence of nsP1 and nsP4. These results define the set of viral components required for alphavirus replication complex assembly and suggest the possibility that it could be reconstituted from separately expressed nonstructural proteins. IMPORTANCE All positive-strand RNA viruses extensively modify host cell membranes to serve as efficient platforms for viral RNA replication. Alphaviruses and several other groups induce protective membrane invaginations (spherules) as their genome factories. Most positive-strand viruses produce their replicase as a polyprotein precursor, which is further processed through precise and regulated cleavages. We show here that specific cleavage intermediates of the alphavirus replicase can give rise to spherule structures in the absence of viral RNA. In the presence of template RNA, the same intermediates yield active replication complexes. Thus, partially cleaved replicase proteins play key roles that connect replication complex assembly, membrane deformation, and the different stages of RNA synthesis.
Subject: replication complex
membrane
polyprotein processing
Semliki Forest virus
Sindbis virus
SEMLIKI-FOREST-VIRUS
STRAND RNA
POLYMERASE-ACTIVITY
PLASMA-MEMBRANE
MINUS-STRAND
VIRAL-RNA
COMPLEXES
ASSOCIATION
POLYPROTEIN
GENERATION
1182 Biochemistry, cell and molecular biology
1183 Plant biology, microbiology, virology
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