The interaction of Nipah virus (NiV) nucleocapsid (N) protein with phosphoprotein (P) during nucleocapsid assembly is the essential process in the viral life cycle, since only the encapsidated RNA genome can be used for replication. To identify the region responsible for N-P interaction, we utilized fluorescent protein tags to visualize NiV N and P proteins in live cells and analyzed their cellular localization. N protein fused to monomeric enhanced cyan fluorescence protein (N-ECFP) exhibited a dotted pattern in transfected cells, while P protein fused to monomeric red fluorescent protein (P-mRFP) showed diffuse distribution. When the two proteins were coexpressed, P-mRFP colocalized with N-ECFP dots. N-ECFP mutants with serial amino acid deletions were generated to search for the region(s) responsible for this N-P colocalization. We found that, in addition to the 467- to 496-amino-acid (aa) region reported previously, aa 135 to 146 were responsible for the N-P colocalization. The residues crucial for N-P interaction were further investigated by introducing alanine substitutions into the untagged N protein. Alanine scanning in the region of aa 135 to 146 has revealed that there are distinct regions essential for the interaction of N-P and the function of N. This is the first study to visualize Nipah viral proteins in live cells and to assess the essential domain of N protein for the interaction with P protein.
Nipah virus (NiV) P gene encodes P protein and three accessory proteins (V, C and W). It has been reported that all four P gene products have IFN antagonist activity when the proteins were transiently expressed. However, the role of those accessory proteins in natural infection with NiV remains unknown. We generated recombinant NiVs lacking V, C or W protein, rNiV(V-), rNiV(C-), and rNiV(W-), respectively, to analyze the functions of these proteins in infected cells and the implications in in vivo pathogenicity. All the recombinants grew well in cell culture, although the maximum titers of rNiV(V-) and rNiV(C-) were lower than the other recombinants. The rNiV(V-), rNiV(C-) and rNiV(W-) suppressed the IFN response as well as the parental rNiV, thereby indicating that the lack of each accessory protein does not significantly affect the inhibition of IFN signaling in infected cells. In experimentally infected golden hamsters, rNiV(V-) and rNiV(C-) but not the rNiV(W-) virus showed a significant reduction in virulence. These results suggest that V and C proteins play key roles in NiV pathogenicity, and the roles are independent of their IFN-antagonist activity. This is the first report that identifies the molecular determinants of NiV in pathogenicity in vivo.
Measles virus (MV) belongs to the genus Morbillivirus of the family Paramyxoviridae. A number of paramyxoviruses inhibit host interferon (IFN) signaling pathways in host immune systems by various mechanisms. Inhibition mechanisms have been described for many paramyxoviruses. Although there are inconsistencies among previous reports concerning MV, it appears that P/V/C proteins interfere with the pathways. In this study, we confirmed the effects of MV P gene products of a wild MV strain on IFN pathways and examined that of other viral proteins on it. Interestingly, we found that N protein acts as an IFN-?/? and ?-antagonist as strong as P gene products. We further investigated the mechanisms of MV-N inhibition, and revealed that MV-N blocks the nuclear import of activated STAT without preventing STAT and Jak activation or STAT degradation, and that the nuclear translocation of MV-N is important for the inhibition. The inhibitory effect of the N protein was observed as a common feature of other morbilliviruses. The results presented in this report suggest that N protein of MV as well as P/V/C proteins is involved in the inhibition of host IFN signaling pathways.
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