Initiation of hepatitis C virus infection requires the dynamic microtubule network: role of the viral nucleocapsid protein

Roohvand, F. et al. (2009) Initiation of hepatitis C virus infection requires the dynamic microtubule network: role of the viral nucleocapsid protein. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 284(20), pp. 13778-13791. (doi: 10.1074/jbc.M807873200) (PMID:19269968) (PMCID:PMC2679479)

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Early events leading to the establishment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection are not completely understood. We show that intact and dynamic microtubules play a key role in the initiation of productive HCV infection. Microtubules were required for virus entry into cells, as evidenced using virus pseudotypes presenting HCV envelope proteins on their surface. Studies carried out using the recent infectious HCV model revealed that microtubules also play an essential role in early, postfusion steps of the virus cycle. Moreover, low concentrations of vinblastin and nocodazol, microtubule-affecting drugs, and paclitaxel, which stabilizes microtubules, inhibited infection, suggesting that microtubule dynamic instability and/or treadmilling mechanisms are involved in HCV internalization and early transport. By protein chip and direct core-dependent pull-down assays, followed by mass spectrometry, we identified β- and α-tubulin as cellular partners of the HCV core protein. Surface plasmon resonance analyses confirmed that core directly binds to tubulin with high affinity via amino acids 2-117. The interaction of core with tubulin in vitro promoted its polymerization and enhanced the formation of microtubules. Immune electron microscopy showed that HCV core associates, at least temporarily, with microtubules polymerized in its presence. Studies by confocal microscopy showed a juxtaposition of core with microtubules in HCV-infected cells. In summary, we report that intact and dynamic microtubules are required for virus entry into cells and for early postfusion steps of infection. HCV may exploit a direct interaction of core with tubulin, enhancing microtubule polymerization, to establish efficient infection and promote virus transport and/or assembly in infected cells.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:McLauchlan, Professor John
Authors: Roohvand, F., Maillard, P., Lavergne, J.-P., Boulant, S., Walic, M., Andreo, U., Goueslain, L., Helle, F., Mallet, A., McLauchlan, J., and Budkowska, A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Infection Immunity and Inflammation
Journal Name:Journal of Biological Chemistry
Journal Abbr.:J Biol Chem.
ISSN (Online):1083-351X
Published Online:06 March 2009

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