Bishnupriya Bhattacharya, Rob J Noad and Polly Roy
Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London, WC1E 7HT, UK
The VP2 outer capsid protein Bluetongue Virus (BTV) is responsible for receptor binding, haemagglutination and eliciting host-specific immunity. However, the assembly of this outer capsid protein on the transcriptionally active viral core would block transcription of the virus. Thus assembly of the outer capsid on the core particle must be a tightly controlled process during virus maturation. Earlier studies have detected mature virus particles associated with intermediate filaments in virus infected cells but the viral determinant for this association and the effect of disrupting intermediate filaments on virus assembly and release are unknown.
In this study it is demonstrated that BTV VP2 associates with vimentin in both virus infected cells and in the absence of other viral proteins. Further, the determinants of vimentin localisation are mapped to the N-terminus of the protein and deletions of aminio acids between residues 65 and 114 are shown to disrupt VP2-vimentin association. Site directed mutation also reveals that amino acid residues Gly 70 and Val 72 are important in the VP2-vimentin association. Mutation of these amino acids resulted in a soluble VP2 capable of forming trimeric structures similar to unmodified protein that no longer associated with vimentin. Furthermore, pharmacological disruption of intermediate filaments, either directly or indirectly through the disruption of the microtubule network, inhibited virus release from BTV infected cells.
The principal findings of the research are that the association of mature BTV particles with intermediate filaments are driven by the interaction of VP2 with vimentin and that this interaction contributes to virus egress. Furthermore, i) the N-terminal 118 amino acids of VP2 are sufficient to confer vimentin interaction. ii) Deletion of amino acids 65–114 or mutation of amino acids 70–72 to DVD abrogates vimentin association. iii) Finally, disruption of vimentin structures results in an increase in cell associated BTV and a reduction in the amount of released virus from infected cells.
Virology Journal 2007, 4:7. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.