PhD Student, Peter Doherty Institute
Understanding how viral protein nuclear transport is important for viral replication.
We are trying to understand how West Nile virus is able to manipulate specific host cell processes that allow it to hide from the immune response, and allow it to replicate within cells. We are currently looking at understanding how and why RNA viruses send proteins into the nucleus
Abstract: West Nile virus (WNV) capsid (C) protein has been shown to enter the nucleus of infected cells. However, the mechanism by which C protein enters the nucleus is unknown. In this study, we have unveiled for the first time that nuclear transport of WNV and Dengue virus C protein is mediated by their direct association with importin-alpha. This interplay is mediated by the consensus sequences of bipartite nuclear localization signal located between amino acid residues 85-101 together with amino acid residues 42 and 43 of C protein. Elucidation of biological significance of importin-alpha/C protein interaction demonstrated that the binding efficiency of this association influenced the nuclear entry of C protein and virus production. Collectively, this study illustrated the molecular mechanism by which the C protein of arthropod-borne flavivirus enters the nucleus and showed the importance of importin-alpha/C protein interaction in the context of flavivirus life-cycle.
Pub.: 29 Aug '09, Pinned: 28 Jul '17
Abstract: Although all established functions of dengue virus NS5 (nonstructural protein 5) occur in the cytoplasm, its nuclear localization, mediated by dual nuclear localization sequences, is essential for virus replication. Here, we have determined the mechanism by which NS5 can localize in the cytoplasm to perform its role in replication, establishing for the first time that it is able to be exported from the nucleus by the exportin CRM1 and hence can shuttle between the nucleus and cytoplasm. We define the nuclear export sequence responsible to be residues 327-343 and confirm interaction of NS5 and CRM1 by pulldown assay. Significantly, greater nuclear accumulation of NS5 during infection due to CRM1 inhibition coincided with altered kinetics of virus production and decreased induction of the antiviral chemokine interleukin-8. This is the first report of a nuclear export sequence within NS5 for any member of the Flavivirus genus; because of its high conservation within the genus, it may represent a target for the treatment of diseases caused by several medically important flaviviruses.
Pub.: 20 Mar '09, Pinned: 28 Jul '17
Abstract: The study of viral proteins and host cell factors that interact with them has represented an invaluable contribution to understanding of the physiology as well as associated pathology of key eukaryotic cell processes such as cell cycle regulation, signal transduction and transformation. Similarly, knowledge of nucleocytoplasmic transport is based largely on pioneering studies performed on viral proteins that enabled the first sequences responsible for the facilitated transport through the nuclear pore to be identified. The study of viral proteins has also enabled the discovery of several nucleocytoplasmic regulatory mechanisms, the best characterized being through phosphorylation. Recent delineation of the mechanisms whereby phosphorylation regulates nuclear import and export of key viral gene products encoded by important human pathogens such as human cytomegalovirus dengue virus and respiratory syncytial virus has implications for the development of antiviral therapeutics. In particular, the development of specific and effective kinase inhibitors makes the idea of blocking viral infection by inhibiting the phosphorylation-dependent regulation of viral gene product nuclear transport a real possibility. Additionally, examination of a chicken anemia virus (CAV) protein able to target selectively into the nucleus of tumor but not normal cells, as specifically regulated by phosphorylation, opens the exciting possibility of cancer cell-specific nuclear targeting. The study of nucleoplasmic transport may thus enable the development not only of new antiviral approaches, but also contribute to anti-cancer strategies.
Pub.: 16 Oct '07, Pinned: 28 Jul '17
Abstract: Flaviviral replication is believed to be exclusively cytoplasmic, occurring within virus-induced membrane-bound replication complexes in the host cytoplasm. Here we show that a significant proportion (20%) of the total RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRp) activity from cells infected with West Nile virus, Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV), and dengue virus is resident within the nucleus. Consistent with this, the major replicase proteins NS3 and NS5 of JEV also localized within the nucleus. NS5 was found distributed throughout the nucleoplasm, but NS3 was present at sites of active flaviviral RNA synthesis, colocalizing with NS5, and visible as distinct foci along the inner periphery of the nucleus by confocal and immunoelectron microscopy. Both these viral replicase proteins were also present in the nuclear matrix, colocalizing with the peripheral lamina, and revealed a well-entrenched nuclear location for the viral replication complex. In keeping with this observation, antibodies to either NS3 or NS5 coimmunoprecipitated the other protein from isolated nuclei along with newly synthesized viral RNA. Taken together these data suggest an absolute requirement for both of the replicase proteins for nucleus-localized synthesis of flavivirus RNA. Thus, we conclusively demonstrate for the first time that the host cell nucleus functions as an additional site for the presence of functionally active flaviviral replicase complex.
Pub.: 16 May '06, Pinned: 28 Jul '17
Abstract: The subcellular locations in infected Vero cells of Kunjin (KUN) virus core protein C and NS4B were analyzed by immunofluorescence (IF) and by immunoelectron microscopy using monospecific antibodies. Selection of appropriate fixation methods for IF showed that both proteins were associated at all times with perinuclear membranes spreading outward in a reticular pattern and they entered the nucleus late during the latent period. Subsequently NS4B was also dispersed through the nucleoplasm, while C appeared in the nucleolus and the nucleoplasm. These nuclear locations were confirmed by immunogold labeling of cryosections of infected cells at 24 hr postinfection. Labeling of NS4B in cryosections was especially enriched in the perinuclear membranes of the endoplasmic reticulum. When C and NS4B were each expressed separately in stably transformed cell lines, both cytoplasmic and nuclear localization was observed by IF and confirmed by immunoelectron microscopy. Thus the two proteins translocated to the nucleus independently of each other and of other viral proteins. Dual IF with antibodies to double-stranded RNA showed that cytoplasmic locations of C and NS4B were apparently associated in part with the sites of viral RNA synthesis which were resistant to solubilization by Triton X-100.
Pub.: 21 Jul '97, Pinned: 28 Jul '17
Abstract: Flaviviruses, including Dengue, West Nile, Japanese encephalitis, and Tick-borne encephalitis virus, are major emerging human pathogens, affecting millions of individuals worldwide. Many clinically important flaviviruses elicit CNS diseases in infected hosts, including traditional "hemorrhagic" viruses, such as Dengue. This review focuses on the epidemiology, symptomatology, neuropathology, and, specifically, neuropathogenesis of flavivirus-induced human CNS disease. A detailed insight into specific factors priming towards neuroinvasive disease is of clear clinical significance, as well as importance to the development of antiviral therapies and identification of key mechanisms involved in the (re)emergence of specific flaviviruses, including potentially novel or previously unrecognized ones, as neuroinvasive pathogens.
Pub.: 17 Nov '11, Pinned: 28 Jul '17