Transient receptor potential (TRP) proteins are a large family of polymodal nonselective cation channels. The TRP vanilloid (TRPV) subfamily consists of six homologous members with diverse functions. TRPV1-TRPV4 are nonselective cation channels proposed to play a role in nociception, while TRPV5 and TRPV6 are involved in epithelial Ca(2+) homeostasis. Here we present the cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) structure of functional, full-length TRPV2 at 13.6 Å resolution. The map reveals that the TRPV2 cytoplasmic domain displays a 4-fold petal-like shape in which high-resolution N-terminal ankyrin repeat domain (ARD) structures can be unambiguously fitted. Fitting of the available ARD structures for other TRPV subfamily members into the TRPV2 EM map suggests that TRPV subfamily members have highly homologous structural topologies. These results allowed us to postulate a structural explanation for the functional diversity among TRPV channels and their differential regulation by proteins and ligands.
A 5.3 Å resolution, cryo-electron microscopy (cryoEM) map of Chikungunya virus-like particles (VLPs) has been interpreted using the previously published crystal structure of the Chikungunya E1-E2 glycoprotein heterodimer. The heterodimer structure was divided into domains to obtain a good fit to the cryoEM density. Differences in the T = 4 quasi-equivalent heterodimer components show their adaptation to different environments. The spikes on the icosahedral 3-fold axes and those in general positions are significantly different, possibly representing different phases during initial generation of fusogenic E1 trimers. CryoEM maps of neutralizing Fab fragments complexed with VLPs have been interpreted using the crystal structures of the Fab fragments and the VLP structure. Based on these analyses the CHK-152 antibody was shown to stabilize the viral surface, hindering the exposure of the fusion-loop, likely neutralizing infection by blocking fusion. The CHK-9, m10 and m242 antibodies surround the receptor-attachment site, probably inhibiting infection by blocking cell attachment. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.00435.001.
Flaviviruses assemble as fusion-incompetent immature particles and subsequently undergo conformational change leading to release of infectious virions. Flavivirus infections also produce combined mosaic particles. Here, using cryo-electron tomography, we report that mosaic particles of dengue virus type 2 had glycoproteins organized into two regions of mature and immature structure. Furthermore, particles of a maturation-deficient mutant had their glycoproteins organized into two regions of immature structure with mismatching icosahedral symmetries. It is therefore apparent that the maturation-related reorganization of the flavivirus glycoproteins is not synchronized across the whole virion, but is initiated from one or more nucleation centres. Similar deviation from icosahedral symmetry might be relevant to the asymmetrical mode of genome packaging and cell entry of other viruses.
Many flaviviruses are significant human pathogens, with the humoral immune response playing an essential role in restricting infection and disease. CR4354, a human monoclonal antibody isolated from a patient, neutralizes West Nile virus (WNV) infection at a postattachment stage in the viral life-cycle. Here, we determined the structure of WNV complexed with Fab fragments of CR4354 using cryoelectron microscopy. The outer glycoprotein shell of a mature WNV particle is formed by 30 rafts of three homodimers of the viral surface protein E. CR4354 binds to a discontinuous epitope formed by protein segments from two neighboring E molecules, but does not cause any detectable structural disturbance on the viral surface. The epitope occurs at two independent positions within an icosahedral asymmetric unit, resulting in 120 binding sites on the viral surface. The cross-linking of the six E monomers within one raft by four CR4354 Fab fragments suggests that the antibody neutralizes WNV by blocking the pH-induced rearrangement of the E protein required for virus fusion with the endosomal membrane.
During dengue virus replication, an incomplete cleavage of the envelope glycoprotein prM, generates a mixture of mature (prM-less) and prM-containing, immature extracellular particles. In this study, sequential immunoprecipitation and cryoelectron microscopy revealed a third type of extracellular particles, the partially mature particles, as the major prM-containing particles in a dengue serotype 2 virus. Changes in the proportion of viral particles in the pr-M junction mutants exhibiting altered levels of prM cleavage suggest that the partially mature particles may represent an intermediate subpopulation in the virus maturation pathway. These findings are consistent with a model suggesting the progressive mode of prM cleavage.
Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) has infected millions of people in Africa, Europe and Asia since this alphavirus reemerged from Kenya in 2004. The severity of the disease and the spread of this epidemic virus present a serious public health threat in the absence of vaccines or antiviral therapies. Here, we describe a new vaccine that protects against CHIKV infection of nonhuman primates. We show that selective expression of viral structural proteins gives rise to virus-like particles (VLPs) in vitro that resemble replication-competent alphaviruses. Immunization with these VLPs elicited neutralizing antibodies against envelope proteins from alternative CHIKV strains. Monkeys immunized with VLPs produced high-titer neutralizing antibodies that protected against viremia after high-dose challenge. We transferred these antibodies into immunodeficient mice, where they protected against subsequent lethal CHIKV challenge, indicating a humoral mechanism of protection. Immunization with alphavirus VLP vaccines represents a strategy to contain the spread of CHIKV and related pathogenic viruses in humans.
During cell entry of flaviviruses, low endosomal pH triggers the rearrangement of the viral surface glycoproteins to a fusion-active state that allows the release of the infectious RNA into the cytoplasm. In this work, West Nile virus was complexed with Fab fragments of the neutralizing mAb E16 and was subsequently exposed to low pH, trapping the virions in a pre-fusion intermediate state. The structure of the complex was studied by cryo-electron microscopy and provides the first structural glimpse of a flavivirus fusion intermediate near physiological conditions. A radial expansion of the outer protein layer of the virion was observed compared to the structure at pH 8. The resulting approximately 60 A-wide shell of low density between lipid bilayer and outer protein layer is likely traversed by the stem region of the E glycoprotein. By using antibody fragments, we have captured a structural intermediate of a virus that likely occurs during cell entry. The trapping of structural transition states by antibody fragments will be applicable for other processes in the flavivirus life cycle and delineating other cellular events that involve conformational rearrangements.
Flaviviruses are a group of human pathogens causing severe encephalitic or hemorrhagic diseases that include West Nile, dengue and yellow fever viruses. Here, using X-ray crystallography we have defined the structure of the flavivirus cross-reactive antibody E53 that engages the highly conserved fusion loop of the West Nile virus envelope glycoprotein. Using cryo-electron microscopy, we also determined that E53 Fab binds preferentially to spikes in noninfectious, immature flavivirions but is unable to bind significantly to mature virions, consistent with the limited solvent exposure of the epitope. We conclude that the neutralizing impact of E53 and likely similar fusion-loop-specific antibodies depends on its binding to the frequently observed immature component of flavivirus particles. Our results elucidate how fusion-loop antibodies, which comprise a significant fraction of the humoral response against flaviviruses, can function to control infection without appreciably recognizing mature virions. As these highly cross-reactive antibodies are often weakly neutralizing they also may contribute to antibody-dependent enhancement and flavi virus pathogenesis thereby complicating development of safe and effective vaccines.
Chilo iridescent virus (CIV) is a large (approximately 1850 A diameter) insect virus with an icosahedral, T=147 capsid, a double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) genome, and an internal lipid membrane. The structure of CIV was determined to 13 A resolution by means of cryoelectron microscopy (cryoEM) and three-dimensional image reconstruction. A homology model of P50, the CIV major capsid protein (MCP), was built based on its amino acid sequence and the structure of the homologous Paramecium bursaria chlorella virus 1 Vp54 MCP. This model was fitted into the cryoEM density for each of the 25 trimeric CIV capsomers per icosahedral asymmetric unit. A difference map, in which the fitted CIV MCP capsomers were subtracted from the CIV cryoEM reconstruction, showed that there are at least three different types of minor capsid proteins associated with the capsomers outside the lipid membrane. "Finger" proteins are situated at many, but not all, of the spaces between three adjacent capsomers within each trisymmetron, and "zip" proteins are situated between sets of three adjacent capsomers at the boundary between neighboring trisymmetrons and pentasymmetrons. Based on the results of segmentation and density correlations, there are at least eight finger proteins and three dimeric and two monomeric zip proteins in one asymmetric unit of the CIV capsid. These minor proteins appear to stabilize the virus by acting as intercapsomer cross-links. One transmembrane "anchor" protein per icosahedral asymmetric unit, which extends from beneath one of the capsomers in the pentasymmetron to the internal leaflet of the lipid membrane, may provide additional stabilization for the capsid. These results are consistent with the observations for other large, icosahedral dsDNA viruses that also utilize minor capsid proteins for stabilization and for determining their assembly.
Dengue virus infects approximately 100 million people annually, but there is no available therapeutic treatment. The mimetic peptide, DN59, consists of residues corresponding to the membrane interacting, amphipathic stem region of the dengue virus envelope (E) glycoprotein. This peptide is inhibitory to all four serotypes of dengue virus, as well as other flaviviruses. Cryo-electron microscopy image reconstruction of dengue virus particles incubated with DN59 showed that the virus particles were largely empty, concurrent with the formation of holes at the five-fold vertices. The release of RNA from the viral particle following incubation with DN59 was confirmed by increased sensitivity of the RNA genome to exogenous RNase and separation of the genome from the E protein in a tartrate density gradient. DN59 interacted strongly with synthetic lipid vesicles and caused membrane disruptions, but was found to be non-toxic to mammalian and insect cells. Thus DN59 inhibits flavivirus infectivity by interacting directly with virus particles resulting in release of the genomic RNA.
We investigated the effects of sample preparation and of the exposure to an electron beam on particles in cryo-electron tomographs. Various virus particles with icosahedral symmetry were examined, allowing a comparison of symmetrically related components that should be identical in structure but might be affected differently by these imaging artifacts. Comparison of tomographic reconstructions with previously determined structures established by an independent method showed that neither freezing nor electron beam exposure produced a significant amount of shrinkage along the z axis (thickness). However, we observed damage to regions of the particles located close to the surface of the vitreous ice.
The Podoviridae phage C1 was one of the earliest isolated bacteriophages and the first virus documented to be active against streptococci. The icosahedral and asymmetric reconstructions of the virus were calculated using cryo-electron microscopy. The capsid protein has an HK97 fold arranged into a T = 4 icosahedral lattice. The C1 tail is terminated with a ?29-like knob, surrounded by a skirt of twelve long appendages with novel morphology. Several C1 structural proteins have been identified, including a candidate for an appendage. The crystal structure of the knob has an N-terminal domain with a fold observed previously in tube forming proteins of Siphoviridae and Myoviridae phages. The structure of C1 suggests the mechanisms by which the virus digests the cell wall and ejects its genome. Although there is little sequence similarity to other phages, conservation of the structural proteins demonstrates a common origin of the head and tail, but more recent evolution of the appendages.
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