Vaccinia Virus B1 Kinase Is Required for Postreplicative Stages of the Viral Life Cycle in a BAF-Independent Manner in U2OS Cells.

Research paper by Augusta A Jamin, Nouhou N Ibrahim, April A Wicklund, Kaitlin K Weskamp, Matthew S MS Wiebe

Indexed on: 01 Aug '15Published on: 01 Aug '15Published in: Journal of virology


The vaccinia virus B1R gene encodes a highly conserved protein kinase that is essential for the poxviral life cycle. As demonstrated in many cell types, B1 plays a critical role during viral DNA replication when it inactivates the cellular host defense effector barrier to autointegration factor (BAF or BANF1). To better understand the role of B1 during infection, we have characterized the growth of a B1-deficient temperature-sensitive mutant virus (Cts2 virus) in U2OS osteosarcoma cells. In contrast to all other cell lines tested to date, we found that in U2OS cells, Cts2 viral DNA replication is unimpaired at the nonpermissive temperature. However, the Cts2 viral yield in these cells was reduced more than 10-fold, thus indicating that B1 is required at another stage of the vaccinia virus life cycle. Our results further suggest that the host defense function of endogenous BAF may be absent in U2OS cells but can be recovered through either overexpression of BAF or fusion of U2OS cells with mouse cells in which the antiviral function of BAF is active. Interestingly, examination of late viral proteins during Cts2 virus infection demonstrated that B1 is required for optimal processing of the L4 protein. Finally, execution point analyses as well as electron microscopy studies uncovered a role for B1 during maturation of poxviral virions. Overall, this work demonstrates that U2OS cells are a novel model system for studying the cell type-specific regulation of BAF and reveals a role for B1 beyond DNA replication during the late stages of the viral life cycle.The most well characterized role for the vaccinia virus B1 kinase is to facilitate viral DNA replication by phosphorylating and inactivating BAF, a cellular host defense responsive to foreign DNA. Additional roles for B1 later in the viral life cycle have been postulated for decades but are difficult to examine directly due to the importance of B1 during DNA replication. Here, we demonstrate that in U2OS cells, a B1 mutant virus escapes the block in DNA replication observed in other cell types and, instead, this mutant virus exhibits impaired late protein accumulation and incomplete maturation of new virions. These data provide the clearest evidence to date that B1 is needed for multiple critical junctures in the poxviral life cycle in a manner that is both dependent on and independent of BAF.