Tracking the Fate of Genetically Distinct Vesicular Stomatitis Virus Matrix Proteins Highlights the Role for Late Domains in Assembly
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CitationSoh, Timothy K., and Sean P. J. Whelan. 2015. “Tracking the Fate of Genetically Distinct Vesicular Stomatitis Virus Matrix Proteins Highlights the Role for Late Domains in Assembly.” Edited by D. S. Lyles. Journal of Virology 89 (23): 11750–60. https://doi.org/10.1128/jvi.01371-15.
AbstractVesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) assembly requires condensation of the viral ribonucleoprotein (RNP) core with the matrix protein (M) during budding from the plasma membrane. The RNP core comprises the negative-sense genomic RNA completely coated by the nucleocapsid protein (N) and associated by a phosphoprotein (P) with the large polymerase protein (L). To study the assembly of single viral particles, we tagged M and P with fluorescent proteins. We selected from a library of viruses with insertions in the M gene a replication-competent virus containing a fluorescent M and combined that with our previously described virus containing fluorescent P. Virus particles containing those fusions maintained the same bullet shape appearance as wild-type VSV but had a modest increase in particle length, reflecting the increased genome size. Imaging of the released particles revealed a variation in the amount of M and P assembled into the virions, consistent with a flexible packaging mechanism. We used the recombinants to further study the importance of the late domains in M, which serve to recruit the endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) machinery during budding. Mutations in late domains resulted in the accumulation of virions that failed to pinch off from the plasma membrane. Imaging of single virions released from cells that were coinfected with M tagged with enhanced green fluorescent protein and M tagged with mCherry variants in which the late domains of one virus were inactivated by mutation showed a strong bias against the incorporation of the late-domain mutant into the released virions. In contrast, the intracellular expression and membrane association of the two variants were unaltered. These studies provide new tools for imaging particle assembly and enhance our resolution of existing models for assembly of VSV. IMPORTANCE Assembly of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) particles requires the separate trafficking of the viral replication machinery, a matrix protein (M) and a glycoprotein, to the plasma membrane. The matrix protein contains a motif termed a "late domain" that engages the host endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT) machinery to facilitate the release of viral particles. Inactivation of the late domains through mutation results in the accumulation of virions arrested at the point of release. In the study described here, we developed new tools to study VSV assembly by fusing fluorescent proteins to M and to a constituent of the replication machinery, the phosphoprotein (P). We used those tools to show that the late domains of Mare required for efficient incorporation into viral particles and that the particles contain a variable quantity of M and P.
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