Studies of an influenza A virus temperature-sensitive mutant identify a late role for NP in the formation of infectious virions

Noton, S.L., Simpson-Holley, M., Medcalf, E., Wise, H.M., Hutchinson, E.C. , McCauley, J.W. and Digard, P. (2009) Studies of an influenza A virus temperature-sensitive mutant identify a late role for NP in the formation of infectious virions. Journal of Virology, 83(2), pp. 562-571. (doi:10.1128/JVI.01424-08) (PMID:18987140) (PMCID:PMC2612366)

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Abstract

The influenza A virus nucleoprotein (NP) is a single-stranded RNA-binding protein that encapsidates the virus genome and has essential functions in viral-RNA synthesis. Here, we report the characterization of a temperature-sensitive (ts) NP mutant (US3) originally generated in fowl plague virus (A/chicken/Rostock/34). Sequence analysis revealed a single mutation, M239L, in NP, consistent with earlier mapping studies assigning the ts lesion to segment 5. Introduction of this mutation into A/PR/8/34 virus by reverse genetics produced a ts phenotype, confirming the identity of the lesion. Despite an approximately 100-fold drop in the viral titer at the nonpermissive temperature, the mutant US3 polypeptide supported wild-type (WT) levels of genome transcription, replication, and protein synthesis, indicating a late-stage defect in function of the NP polypeptide. Nucleocytoplasmic trafficking of the US3 NP was also normal, and the virus actually assembled and released around sixfold more virus particles than the WT virus, with normal viral-RNA content. However, the particle/PFU ratio of these virions was 50-fold higher than that of WT virus, and many particles exhibited an abnormal morphology. Reverse-genetics studies in which A/PR/8/34 segment 7 was swapped with sequences from other strains of virus revealed a profound incompatibility between the M239L mutation and the A/Udorn/72 M1 gene, suggesting that the ts mutation affects M1-NP interactions. Thus, we have identified a late-acting defect in NP that, separate from its function in RNA synthesis, indicates a role for the polypeptide in virion assembly, most likely involving M1 as a partner.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hutchinson, Dr Edward
Authors: Noton, S.L., Simpson-Holley, M., Medcalf, E., Wise, H.M., Hutchinson, E.C., McCauley, J.W., and Digard, P.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Infection Immunity and Inflammation
Journal Name:Journal of Virology
Publisher:American Society for Microbiology
ISSN:0022-538X
ISSN (Online):1070-6321

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