M062 is a host range factor essential for myxoma virus pathogenesis and functions as an antagonist of host SAMD9 in human cells.

Research paper by Jia J Liu, Sonia S Wennier, Leiliang L Zhang, Grant G McFadden

Indexed on: 21 Jan '11Published on: 21 Jan '11Published in: Journal of virology


Myxoma virus (MYXV) M062R is a functional homolog of the C7L family of host range genes from orthopoxviruses. We constructed a targeted M062R-knockout-MYXV (vMyxM062-KO) and characterized its properties in vitro and in vivo. In European rabbits, infection by vMyxM062-KO was completely asymptomatic. The surviving rabbits did not gain full protection against the subsequent lethal-dose challenge with wild-type MYXV. We also looked for cellular tropism defects in a variety of cultured cells. In all of the rabbit cells tested, vMyxM062-KO conducts an abortive infection, although it initiates viral DNA replication. In many, but not all, human cancer cells that are permissive for wild-type MYXV, vMyxM062-KO exhibited a profound replication defect. We categorized human cells tested into two groups: (i) type A, which support productive replication for wild-type MYXV but are unable to produce significant levels of progeny virus by vMyxM062-KO, and (ii) type B, which are permissive to infections by both wild-type MYXV and vMyxM062-KO. Furthermore, using proteomic strategies, we identified sterile α motif domain containing 9 (SAMD9), an interferon-regulated cellular protein implicated in human inflammatory disorders, as a unique host binding partner of M062 in human cells. Significantly, knocking down SAMD9 in type A human cancer cells led to a substantial rescue of vMyxM062-KO infection. In summary, M062 is a novel host range factor that controls productive MYXV replication in rabbit cells and in a wide variety of human cells. M062 also binds and antagonizes cellular SAMD9 in human cells, suggesting that SAMD9 is a novel innate antiviral factor against poxviruses.